Thursday of Week 6 of Easter – Gospel

Note: This Mass, also known as ‘Thursday Before Ascension Sunday’, is celebrated in those countries where the feast of our Lord’s Ascension is moved to the Sunday of Week 7 of Easter. For the Ascension Day reflection, see this coming Sunday’s Scripture commentary.

Commentary on John 16:16-20

As Jesus continues to speak to his disciples at the Last Supper and briefs them on what is coming they are puzzled when he says:

A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.

They start mumbling among themselves asking what on earth Jesus is talking about. Seeing and not seeing and seeing again and “a little while”. To us it is clear enough that Jesus is referring to his coming suffering and death and his resurrection.

Jesus still does not spell it out clearly, but he does warn them that they:

…will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

Jesus’ passion, which will cause them to flee in fear of their lives, will be a traumatic experience. All their beliefs in Jesus as Messiah and Saviour turn to ashes. But there will be others (“the world”) who will be overjoyed over Jesus’ arrest and execution.

The disciples, though, are not to worry because their “pain will turn into joy” with the dawn of the Resurrection and all that implies. In their own way, the disciples will share the Passion of Jesus, as all their hopes and expectations are emptied and turn to dust – only to be revived with the realisation that their Master still lives as Lord and King.

All our sufferings can similarly be turned to joy when we totally unite ourselves with Jesus our Lord and suffer with him and for him, for his Gospel and for the sake of all our brothers and sisters.

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