Good morning, happy Thursday, and many blessings.
In today’s Gospel (John 16:16-20) Jesus tell his disciples: but your sadness will turn into joy. Firstly, being Christians does not insulate us from experiencing deep sorrows. The deeper that we have loved, the deeper our sorrow will be when the loved one is taken from us in death, especially when the death is unexpected. But the point we all need to understand is that there is nothing unspiritual about feeling deep sorrow and grief at a time of loss. True, our grief is different than that of the world, in that we have ultimate hope in Christ (1 Thess. 4:13).
Jesus promises to turn our sorrows into lasting joy. Like the apostles, losing sight of Jesus saddens us and makes us feel like we are in the darkest night. This is a matter of faith, because only faith assures us that, in Jesus, sadness is temporary and gives way to joy. It is also difficult for us to understand why death, sadness, resignation or pain must enter the path of a person. We would like an Easter of total joy, without crosses or sacrifices. But it is the very pain of Good Friday that leads us to the joy of the Resurrection.
There are times when we "don't see" and others when we "see again." Like Christ himself, who also had moments when he did not see the presence of the Father in his life: "Why have you abandoned me?" So, celebrating Easter we must grow in the conviction that Christ and his Spirit are present and active, even if we do not see him. The Eucharist continually reminds us of this presence and therefore we cannot "get discouraged" in the face of the difficulties of the path of life, on the contrary, we must live in joy, without forgetting that there will be sorrows, but that they are temporary.
Jesus turns our sorrow into joy by showing us the glory of the cross. To have seen their beloved Lord beaten and bloodied, hanging on the cross, was the most horrible and shocking event of the disciples’ lives. But the amazing truth is that in all of their writings, they didn’t portray the cross in depressing, mournful tones, but rather as something glorious and triumphant. It was the center of their apostolic preaching because it was the basis upon which God could forgive our sins. Paul even wrote that he gloried or boasted in the cross (Gal. 6:14). We venerate the cross not because it is the instrument with which they murdered Jesus, but rather because it is the instrument with which Jesus offers us salvific liberation.
The significant thing here (John 16:20) is that Jesus doesn’t say that the disciple’s sorrow would be replaced by joy, but rather that He would turn their sorrow into joy. He uses the analogy of a woman in labor (John 16:21). In that day before anesthesia, you could hear a woman crying out in anguish one minute and a few minutes later she was smiling with joy over the very thing that had caused her such anguish, namely, her newborn baby.
This is your challenge for today: Can I appreciate the merciful face of Jesus even in sadness and pain? Are my joys the ones that a Christian person should live and bear witness to?