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Grief turning into joy

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REFLECTION

John 16:16-20

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

 

Reflection

A little while. This phrase appears seven times in the Gospel. In a little while, the disciples will no longer see Jesus—Jesus will be gone, and they will be in hiding. In a little while, Jesus will reappear to them. At this moment, the disciples cannot yet figure out Jesus’ resurrection and upcoming appearances.

We somehow know what Jesus means, but his disciples do not. We have the advantage of knowing the full story of Jesus as written in the Gospel. The disciples are at a loss, especially when they hear him say, “Because I am going to the Father.” We know this because after Jesus dies and rises from the dead, he will ascend into heaven.

But then that little while will take a long time, especially for us Christians who believe he will come again, and we have no problem with that. In fact, many of us do not expect him to come again any time soon.

The point of Jesus is found at the end of the reading. His absence will bring the disciples sadness, while his enemies will rejoice because they have triumphed over him. Grief will then turn into joy, for Jesus will triumph over his enemies and over his disciples’ expectations. Jesus accomplishes the will of the Father against all odds.

Do we believe that our defeat will turn to victory? Can we wait for a little while even if it takes forever?

 

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph. 

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