MAY 13. EASTER. Wk. 6. Thu. Jn. 16. 16-20
Updated: May 13
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘In a short time, you will no longer see me,
and then a short time later you will see me again.’
Then some of his disciples said to one another, ‘What does he mean, “In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again” and, “I am going to the Father”? What is this “short time”? We do not know what he means.’ Jesus knew that they wanted to question him, so he said, ‘You are asking one another what I meant by saying: In a short time, you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again.
‘I tell you most solemnly,
you will be weeping and wailing
while the world will rejoice;
you will be sorrowful,
but your sorrow will turn to joy.’
We often think Jesus is a difficult person to understand, but when you ponder many of his words you find that he speaks with the utmost clarity, and the problem is our reluctance to accept what he is telling us.
Here he is on the verge of leaving his disciples and he is making his final comments to them, comments that were not easy to understand at the time, but which were revealing a simple truth; - he was about to leave them, but they should not worry, because he would return and they would see him again.
That was one clear message he was giving them. The other was, in the interim, before his return, his followers would need to suffer greatly; - “you will be weeping and wailing!” While this was also a difficult message to understand, it was the expression of a simple truth Christ had come to teach and bear witness to; - throughout his life and on Calvary.
That message was; - due to the sins committed by man; - there was a need to make reparation to a Creator, who had created his people out of love, but whom they had gone on and not only disobeyed, but had not even been prepared to acknowledge him as their creator. This is a hard lesson, but it is one that, even today, many of God’s people refuse to accept.
And how did our Creator react to our rejection and our sins? He sent his only Son to make Reparation on our behalf, as we lacked the ability to do this ourselves; - a massive lesson in Divine Compassion, Mercy and Love; - that Christ spent his earthly life bearing witness to and making Reparation for our sins; - through suffering and the sacrifice of his life on a Cross!
What we are being given in this reading is a final concise summary of the purpose of Christ’s life. He had come to teach us how to love God, and make atonement for sin, via suffering and sacrifice; - and now the time had come for him to leave us.
But note his final words to us in this Gospel lesson; - “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy!’ Even though he is telling his disciples of the need to endure suffering in atonement for sin; - he is also promising them Joy ‘when they see him again’.
Gospel Acclamation cf.Jn14:18
The Lord said: I will not leave you orphans.
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.