Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter

John 16:16-20

Grief Turning Into Joy


Saying goodbye to a loved one soon to die makes a poignant scene filled with tenderness. A few days before the demise of my own father, I had a rare chance of speaking with him over the phone. He spoke of those moments in the past that meant so much to a father and her dear daughter. He repeatedly called me by my nickname, an endearment I hold close to my heart. Lastly, he said: “I love you” several times until his voice faded away. He is now gone but his memory lives on in me because what I have learned from him like his values and attitudes are part and parcel of my life.

My personal farewell experience in a way gives me a glimpse of how the disciples felt when Jesus was saying goodbye to them. The leaving taking must have been a very moving scene. The disciples who have followed Him closely and have set their hope on Him were filled with sadness. Jesus was going away for awhile and he promised to return with a new presence. He will not leave us alone because He will send the Spirit to instruct and remind us of His teachings. Jesus is in our midst but to be aware of His presence requires faith. he turns our sorrow into joy when we perseveringly follow His way of loving and serving our community. Jesus lives! (SSpSAP Bible Diary 2004)


The month of May in Inayawan, a barangay on Pardo’s shore, is fiesta time, as is the case with many other barangays and towns in the Philippines. Sadly, however, the fiesta, after a relatively brief and often sparsely attended religious ceremony of either a Mass or a floral offering to our Blessed Mother, is immediately punctuated by the defending ending blare of an open air disco. Often, too, organizers feature as the gala affair a parade and crowning of local “beauties” (actually dolled-up gays in spite of the many truly lovely girls in the place). Not to be forgotten is the sabong or the highly illegal but still tolerated tigbakay. While at the roadside one can see various booths where people avidly try their luck in the various games of chance.

In the midst of the rather maddening revelry, a small band of old women and small children, mainly girls, huddle inside a school building which doubles as chapel during Sundays and other church holydays. The grim faces of the women and their muffled voices betray the weight and sadness of their lot. Outside the chapel, a good number of the menfold engage themselves in gambling or drinking with the pretext that they engage in those activities solely to divert their attention from the already pathetic situation they find themselves in.

The group huddled in muted prayer earnestly look for consolation group huddled in muted prayer earnestly look for consolation and grimly pin their hopes on the truth and fulfilment of the Lord’s words, “….you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices; you will grieve but your grief will become joy.” (Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


Here is an excerpt from the poem “A Little While” by a British poet:

Oh, for the peace that floweth as a river, making life’s desert bloom and smile;

Oh, for the faith to grasp Heaven’s bright forever, amid the shadow of earth’s little while

“A little while” for patient vigil keeping, in fact the storm wrestle with the strong

“A little while” to sow the seed of weeping; to bind the sheaves and sing the harvest song

“A little while” the earthen pitcher taking, to wayside brooks, from far off mountains fed

Then the parched lips its thirst forever slaking beside the fullness of the fountainhead…

 In the Scriptures, the phrase “a little while” is used to refer to the promise of God’s ultimate victory and to counsel the faithful to be patient and persevere because the sufferings of this present world will end just a while. Some examples is Psalm 37:10-“yet a little while and the ungodly shall be gone…but the meek shall possess the earth.” Haggai 2,6: “yet a little while… and in this place i shall give peace says the Lord. Isaiah 29,17: “”yet a little while and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field. In our gospel today, the phrases points to Jesus’ death and also to his departure to heaven after the post-resurrection appearances. The disciples’ grief and the world’s joy are only temporary.

Do we believe in the promise of God that He would ultimately turn our present misery into joy? Hopelessness into hope? Pain into gain? We can believe only if we don’t let our hearts be troubled but trust in God and “Take a leap in the darkness;” if we can endure the persecution: criticisms, mockery, hatred and indifference, because we try to live the teachings of the Lord; and if we can realize that we are only passersby in this life and that we are here for “a little while” only, if we believe, then we are sure “our grief will become joy” in just a little while. (Fr. Deva, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


In Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, there is a tiny island with a peculiar name, Luli. Fisherman from the place must have to explain the origin of the name a thousand times to curious tourists. Accordingly, the name Luli comes from two words: lulubog and lilitaw. The island is so small that at high tide it disappears and reappears at low tide.

The island came to my mind while reading the gospel today: “A little while you will see me no more; and then a little while you will see me.” I believe that the words of Jesus describe the new period of the Church today. This new age we are living is a new experience in faith. It will be an intermittent and irregular encounter with the risen Lord. This day I feel God’s presence; tomorrow I find it difficult to believe even his existence while listening or watching the news about the tragedy in Leyte or being overwhelmed by personal problems. Our time is an opportunity to pass the tests in life; it is a time to put into action our faith in good times and in bad. In other words there is no ideal time to practice our faith. It is not important that at all times we experience his presence and consolation; what matters is at all times we persevere in his ways, in order to mature and be ready for that final encounter when we shall see God face to face, forever. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


Someday, a teacher muses, when the students are gone, things are going to a lot of difference. The floor will no longer be littered with crumpled papers or abandoned water bottles. There will no longer be chewing gum stuck under desks or graffiti on the writing tables. Someday, a parent thinks when the children are grown, the car will actually be available when you need it and the telephone won’t be ringing every five minutes but never for you.

After the extremely busy paschal feast, the apostles must have been thinking of a time to rest from all these activities, space to enjoy their families and opportunity to resume their occupations. Jesus, however, turns the conversation into a somber discussion of things to come. “A little while and you will no longer see me and again, a little later and you will see me.” The cryptic remark prompted the apostles to wonder what Jesus was alluding to this time. As Post-Easter Christians, we know that Jesus was announcing His death and second coming. We know that Christ confidently promised His second coming and guaranteed that the day would be one of unspeakable joy to the faithful.

It is natural for people who are immersed in face-to-face relationships on a sustained basis to feel at times that they have reached their saturation point, where a time-out and even a separation would be a welcome respite. And when that break does arrive, it does not take a long for them to miss what they complained about: the chaos and disorder in the relationships they are in, the bickering and the tears, the noise and bustle of their ordinary days and the pointless discussions and silly jokes. We must realize that distance is sometimes needed to adjust our perspective on something and to appreciate the intensity of intimacy. We must understand that looking forward is the necessary complement of looking backward. The “little while” that Jesus speaks invites us to a meditation on time and relationships. More precisely, it is an exhortation to reflect on quality time even in the most fleeting of relationships. Jesus, who is set to leave is also about to return. The Master who seems to be absent is actually within reach. There are times when the absence if the Lord does make the heavy grow fonder. (Fr. Diony Miranda, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


“You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices, you will grieve but your grief will turn into joy.” What is our joy as a believer?

First, our joy is God’s continuous presence in our lives. The gospel assures us today that the Holy Spirit would be the loving presence of God in our lives. Confronted with challenges in life, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to comfort us, to strengthen us and to help us move on.

Second our joy as believers lies in God’s salvation given to us as a gift. Believing that God saved us through his death and resurrection transforms indeed our grief into joy.  Such salvific action of God makes us more optimistic and hopeful. The charities we do for our fellowmen, the good projects to help others become better persons are expressions of gratitude and outward manifestations of our great joy.

Third, our joy as believers is rooted in living our mission. We do not only enjoy receiving the many blessings of God.  We do not only find happiness in asking God to give us our needs. Our joy consists in being able to respond to the needs of the people we meet everyday. Our joy is found in sharing, contributing and not just accumulating God’s unlimited gifts.

Finally, our joy is in our God who accompanies us. Yearly as religious-missionaries, we celebrate the jubilee in vows and ordination of our confreres in the Eucharistic celebration. What has been striking in these religious gatherings has been the testimony of the jubilarians saying: “In my 25 years, 40 years, 50 years in the religious vows, the Lord has been accompanying me, He has been faithful to me in spite of my shortcomings.” Our joy indeed as believers is found in God who walks and journeys with us giving us the sufficient grace to make our lives and our communities better. (Fr. Roberto Ibay, SVD Bible Diary 2013)


May 5, 2016 Thursday

It is quite common to feel and see that when overseas workers say goodbye to their families there is a prevailing feeling of sadness or even grief around them. As a missionary I have also felt this several times when about to be transferred to another assignment. And one of the more common comments overheard in situations like these is: leave taking is more painful for those who are being left behind than for those who are leaving.

In this biblical text however, it did not seem important who would experience more grief than the other, but rather the striking observation that both must have felt exactly the same way. If Jesus knew that this was the reason of the disciples´ discussion and confusion among themselves, then that was a sign of how close they were to each other. The bond between Jesus and the disciples was strong and this was evidenced by their feelings before the possible separation, albeit temporary.

But when Jesus assured them that their grief would turn into joy, Jesus raised even higher the level of their oneness, that is, to the point of being one in the desire to muster the strength that they would need to persevere and endure until the end.

While we await the coming of the Lord and continue with our mission on earth, we need to persevere specially before the increasing signs of us getting farther from God´s designs. Instead of allowing grief to overtake us, let us be consoled by the fact that He is always one with us, including how we feel about our struggles. Then, the Word would have turned into a reality once more: your grief will turn into joy. (Fr. Jun Castro, SVD Madrid, Spain Bible Diary 2016)


The Lord reminds us: earth is temporary

The Rite for the Coronation of a new pope was pompous and elaborate. The last pope who had this rite as he assumed his office was Pope Paul VI. Since then, the succeeding popes John Pope I and John Paul II, opted for a much simpler Rite of Installation.

While the most solemn part of the present installation rite is the placing of the tall papal mitre over the head of the new pope, the most significant part of the old Rite of Coronation was the imposition of the “tiara” over the head of the new Pontiff of the Church. This “tiara” was a triple crown decked with precious gems and it signified three powers that the pope exercised: the spiritual power, the temporal power over the Church, and the political power over Christian kings and emperors.

Amidst the elaborate rites, one simple yet meaningful gesture that the Dean of Cardinals did before the moment of coronation was to whisper to the new pope: “Remember that this, too, shall pass.” This was a reminder to the new pope that all earthly realities – including his being in office as Supreme Pontiff – have an end.

In today’s gospel, Jesus enunciates the same thought to the disciples: everything earthly is temporary. Whether it is suffering or joy, defeat or victory – all these will only be for a “little while.” Hence, the disciple must always live in hope and with an attitude of transcendence. (Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP New Every Morning New Everyday, pp. 125-126)


Since our earthly life is a “short time” – one that is transitory,  we must be able to go through it properly:

  • Use each moment well. Let us not procrastinate. The good things we can do, let us do them as the situation calls us to. Time is an irreplaceable commodity.
  • Love people we meet along the way. We may never pass the same way again. Let us leave our marks not on things, but in the hearts and minds of people.  May they see our witnessing, and the Christian faith that goes with it.
  • Use each moment, love each person, but learn to detach when the time comes. Jesus Himself tells Mary Magdalene – “Stop holding on to me” – Nole me Tangere. (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, p.126)


My Reflection for Thursday May 29, Sixth Week of Easter John 16:16-20 – Reflection: It’s always heartbreaking when somebody permanently say goodbye to us most especially if they’re very close to us. Tears will flow like a stream and our life will never be the same anymore because a deep void has been created by that person who left us.

Jesus is mysteriously saying His goodbye to the disciples and they could not understand it. They were puzzled and somewhat melancholy but then again Jesus is also saying to them that you will be seeing me soon after also.

Unlike the permanent goodbye of a friend or relative, Jesus’ goodbye is temporary. He comes back to us the moment we sought Him back again. Actually it’s not Jesus who leaves us; it’s us (by way of our sinfulness) who run away from HIM. This occurs when we purposely forget HIM to embrace sin.

But why do we embrace sin (knowing that it will only give us nothing but problems)? Perhaps we think that we could escape the consequence of our sins. But it has been proven time and again that we always pay for our sinfulness. It may take time but certainly we will pay, there’s no free ride in this world most especially in matters of sin. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


NO MORE TEARS – “You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” – John 16:20

A few years ago, my family met an unexpected tragedy. My elder sister died at age 31 after an unsuccessful operation a few months after giving birth to her third daughter.

I was wearing my red Kerygma Conference shirt with the word “Restored” when she was wheeled to the ICU after the surgery. I was calm and numb at first, as I became a pillar to my family who hasn’t met Christ in a personal way. I exhorted them to keep the faith. But later on, I bargained with God as He refused to give me the miracle I waited for.

Eventually, God did answer our prayers as He took away my sister’s suffering. He gave her eternal healing in His bosom.

Back  then, I was mad at the God I had been serving for eight years. With my sister’s untimely death, I don’t just miss her but also my three nieces whom I don’t see often. And then our house was inundated for a second time several months after her death.

Thank God that, despite those tragedies, I didn’t leave the Church I’ve learned to love. I am holding on to His promise in Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from my eyes.”Ems Sy Chan (

Reflection: Do you believe that we’re made for happy endings? Please do. That’s faith.

Father, despite my seemingly unending grief, I know that one day they will all turn to joy. I put my hope in You.


GRIEVING NO MORE: “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” – John 16:20

Ten years ago, we lost our beloved mother to cancer. I thought I’d never be able to get over my grief.

She was a strong presence in my life — always there to listen to me whenever I felt lost or confused, or even when I was just rambling on.

Losing her left a big vacuum in my life. Grief was a stranger I was forced to embrace.

Anyone who has experienced losing someone dear would probably agree with me that the first year is the most difficult. First birthday without her. First Christmas without her. And many other firsts celebrated without her.

But soon the years rolled on. And so did my life.

I remember her now, not with sorrow or grief, but with love and joy — and with gratitude for what she had been to us. We celebrate her birthday or death anniversary with a feast — sometimes a feast of her favorite dishes, or the food she used to cook for us.

With joy, we remember her passing and thank God that He allowed us to see His face through her — just as He did when He sent Jesus to us. Tess V. Atienza (

Reflection: Have you lost someone dear to you? Grieve, yes, but allow God to turn your grief into joy — in His time.

Thank You, Lord, for keeping me company in my time of grief.


1ST READING: Again we see many details surrounding the contacts of Paul in the Roman Church. It is important that we learn from Paul how to use our contacts well to further the work of the Gospel. It is not that we should be totally mercenary about our relationships, but there will arise opportunities from them that will open doors for the proclamation of the Gospel. Let us do our best not to miss these opportunities. Acts 18:1-8

GOSPEL: Becoming a Christian will not make us avoid unfortunate and unhappy experiences in life. We live in the world and we will experience the ups and downs of human life. The critical thing we have as Christians is our attitude of hope and trust in the Lord. No matter how dark our situation may become, there is always hope if we have faith in Christ. Jesus will see us through all our struggles. John 16:16-20

think: No matter how dark our situation may become, there is always hope if we have faith in Christ.


THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM: In one of the Psalms, we read that crying may endure through the night but joy comes with the morning. This is often so true of discipleship. Jesus tells His disciples that it will look as though the powers of the world have triumphed and that they, His disciples, have lost. However that is not the case. Things are not always as they first seem to be, as sorrow will ultimately turn to joy.

Jesus is referring at least in the first instance to His own passion, death and then resurrection. The first two aspects reflect defeat while the third speaks of a final victory. The first two are overcome by the third. This is also often the pattern in discipleship. There are many false starts and dead ends in a disciple’s life as we grow in listening to God’s will and then putting it into action. There are times when we make mistakes and have to turn back to find the right path again, but in the end, if we are faithful to the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us, we triumph. This is God’s work in us.

Even if we look at the world around us and see the walls of materialism, consumerism and secularism closing in on us, we can be tempted to despair as we look at defeat in the face. However, we need to look beyond seeming defeat and trust that there is always another conclusion if we have faith in Jesus Christ. The life of a faithful Christian no longer considers defeat to the powers of evil as a possibility since Christ is risen from the dead.

It is the victory of Christ that we celebrate at Easter; it is that same victory that we live on a daily basis. It is not an option to consider defeat as that would be an insult to Jesus. Let us pray that we not only receive the gift of God’s victory but that we both live it and proclaim it at every opportunity we get. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Have you been through any suffering? How did it turn into joy?

Holy Spirit, help me to live a victorious Christian life that sees no defeat in any of the projects of the Church. Help me to live under the grace of God for my salvation.


THURSDAY OF THE 6TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – JUAN 16:16-20 MAKAHIMO BA ANG DIOS SA PAGBIYA KANATO? Usahay makapangutana kita niini ilabina sa mga panahon nga aduna kitay dagkong suliran. Sa ebanghelyo si Hesus miingon sa iyang mga tinun-an: “Sa dili madugay mawala ako kaninyo, apan sa dili madugay inyo akong makauban. . . Ang inyong kaguol mahimo unya nga inyong kalipay.” Nakapalibog kini sa mga tinun-an, apan sa Pentekostes nasabtan nila nga si Hesus dili gayod mobiya kanila. Magpabilin siya sa ilang kinabuhi pinaagi sa Espiritu Santo, nga maoy tigpanalipod, tigpalig-on ug tighatag og kalipay. Busa, sa sunod higayon nga kita adunay dagkong problema ug pag-antos, dili nato angay’ng bati-on nga kita gipasagdan sa Dios. Motoo kita sa iyang gisaad sa libro sa mga Hebreo: “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you” (13:5). Posted by Abet Uy


One Bread, One Body – Reflection for May 14, 2015


“May another take his office.” –Acts 1:20

During this Pentecost novena, which begins tomorrow, we must replace our Judases with Matthiases. The apostles had spent nearly every day with Judas for about three years. After he sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver and then committed suicide, the apostles were probably traumatized, guilt-ridden, and confused. They had to deal with this catastrophe before they could receive the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. They had to replace the pain associated with Judas with the peace and healing associated with Matthias.

To receive the Holy Spirit this Pentecost, you too may have to replace the trauma of a divorce with the grace of forgiveness and healing. If you have been abused physically, emotionally, or sexually, you may need to replace your pain with the miracle of God’s love.

Because of being hurt and rejected, we usually try to forget about the Judases who have walked away from our lives, but we must replace them. First, we must forgive our Judases. Then, we must ask the Lord to work all things together for our good (Rm 8:28) by replacing disgrace with grace. The miracle of Matthias precedes the miracle of Pentecost.

PRAYER: Father, I take my pain to the cross and let the crucified Jesus heal and transform me.

PROMISE: “Consecrate them by means of truth – ‘Your word is truth.’ ” –Jn 17:17

PRAISE: St. Matthias belonged to the “company” of disciples and apostles who followed Jesus from His baptism in the Jordan until the day of His ascension (Acts 1:21). Tradition holds that he even followed Jesus exactly in suffering crucifixion.


Story: A hiker accidentally tripped and fell into a deep ravine. Luckily he got hold of a small twig of a shrubby bush. Fearful of imminent death, he cried out in a loud voice, “Is there someone up there? Please help me?” There was an answer telling him, “I am here to help you.” “Who are you?” the hiker asked.

“I am the Lord, your God,” was the respond. “Thank you, Lord for coming to help me. I cannot hold any longer. The twig is at the breaking point,” the hiker said gratefully. The Lord demanded, “Before I help, I want to know how much you believe in me.” “Lord,” the hiker replied, “I do believe. I am always with you, praying, attending Holy Mass and giving contributions.” “Do you really believe?” the Lord again asked him. “Yes, Lord,” was the answer. “Then,” the Lord said, “Let go of the twig.” “But Lord,” protested the hiker. “If you really believe that I help then let go of the twig,” the Lord told him. The hiker was quiet for a moment and then shouted. “Is there someone up there? Please help me.”

Challenges: Is my life a total yes to God? Is my life a total commitment to God’s will? To whom I must bring Jesus? To whom I must testify for Jesus? (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos STL, Jesus is Risen! Jesus Reigns! Makati: St. Pauls, 193-194)


May 05, 2016


Among Christians, it is usually the case that one of the two spouses is more interested in religious matters than the other. But when both spouses are deeply interested in living out their Christian faith, the result is something beautiful to behold.

The couple mentioned in today’s first reading seems to have been completely dedicated to the spread of the Christian faith. This couple, Aquila and Prisca or Priscilla, is named four times in the New Testament. Paul is their guest in Corinth, and together they undertake to complete the religious formation of the famous preacher Apollos, who did not know of the existence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 18:26), and they had groups of Christians meeting regularly in their house (1 Cor 16:19). Of this couple Paul writes the following glowing praise: “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I am grateful, but also all the churches of the Gentiles” (Rom 16:3-4). Incidentally, Prisca is named before her husband most of the time in these various passages, which suggests that she had a strong personality.
Committed Christian couples are always a great blessing to the Church.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter

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