Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter

John 16:16-20

Grief Turning Into Joy

The statement of Jesus ‘a little while,’ mikron in Greek, is used seven times in this short passage. Something is about to happen soon, but they don’t know what. This is the way to be scared. They can tell that It has something to do with death: the word here for ‘mourn’ is a word that is used for grief at a death.

When Jesus is saying, ‘a little while’, He is referring to His impending death. He predicts that His death makes His followers experience great sorrow but this delights all those who have joined forces against Him.

A concrete example is what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying“, has presented. For her, there are 5 Stages of Grief or sorrow for terminally ill persons may go through upon learning of their terminal illness. These five stages are the following:

First is Denial. What is the first thing they do? The first reaction is shock. The universal first reaction to hearing the news is, “No.”  The second stage that quickly follows is denial. Terminally ill patients would say: “This cannot be happening to me.”

Second is Anger. “%$@^##& car!”, “I should have junked you years ago.” Do we slam our hand on the steering wheel? I have. “I should just leave you out in the rain and let you rust.”

Third is Bargaining. Like when we are going to work realizing that we’re going to be late for work, we say “Oh please car, if you will just start one more time I promise I’ll buy you a brand new battery, get a tune up, new tires, belts and hoses, and keep you in perfect working condition.

Fourth is Depression. This is one of the examples of what we say when we are depressed: “Oh God, what am I going to do. I’m going to be late for work. I give up. My job is at risk and I don’t really care anymore. What is the use?”

Fifth is Acceptance — “Ok. It’s dead. Guess I had better call the Auto Club or find another way to work. Time to get on with my day; I’ll deal with this later,” is one of the statements we say when we accept our situation.

However, that situation is soon to be reversed by the Resurrection. For then, the disciples will experience a deep and abiding joy, whereas the soldiers guarding the tomb will be terrified (Mt 28:4) and the chief priests will be compelled to buy the soldiers’ silence (Mt 28:11-15). It is a reversal situation.

Our Christian life is somewhat patterned after what Jesus says, ‘a little while,’ that is, as a cycle of disappearances and reappearances endlessly repeated. Like for example, when we pray, there are times that Jesus is not felt as real or as present in our hearts when we want to experience intimacy with Him. This is what we call desolation in prayer. But if we persevere in prayer and if we continue living our Christian life as best we can, invariably there comes a time when the presence of Jesus is again felt. And this is what we called consolation in prayer. These alternating desolations and consolations are the warp and woof forming the very fabric of our Christian life. They are meant to make us constantly grow in faith and trust. After a while however, faith becomes so strong that Jesus is somehow always “seen” and not felt by a kind of special eyesight of the soul. Then the Christian’s joy is practically permanent.

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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