Grief turning into joy » Manila Bulletin News

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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. When bidding good-bye to the disciples, Jesus declares that his impending absence will only be for “a little while” (Greek mikron). While this may refer to a short time—like the time from Jesus’ death to his resurrection on the third day—mikron points to the sorrow that will be soon replaced by great joy: “You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (v 20).

From the perspective of God’s “eternity,” pain, sorrow, absence, or time itself is only a “little while.” The disciples will see Jesus again after his resurrection, and they will rejoice (cf Jn 20:20). Still, the glorification of Jesus will mark his “absence” because he will return to the Father, and they will no longer see him as before. But the believers will continue experiencing his presence in the community guided by the Consoler, the Holy Spirit.

In the light of this, grief and trials are “little” and cannot be compared with the promised joy. St. Paul writes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us” (Rom 8:18).

 

“Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pt 1:8-9).

 

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” 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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