Editor’s Note: As most dioceses in the USA celebrate the Ascension of the Lord on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, this reflection is based on the readings for Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter.
Today’s Gospel: John 16:16-20
When we need to share some difficult news with someone we love we try to approach him/her gently and with as much compassion as we can muster. It breaks our hearts to see those we love suffer in any way. Our feminine nature wants to heal, fix, and control most situations, and, for the most part we do that.
However, some things we just can’t fix. We can only be with. We can stand right next to those who are suffering without saying anything. If we do speak, we often do it in the gentlest language to offer consolation at the same time. Listen to what Jesus says in today’s Gospel:
“A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while and you will see me” (John. 16:16).
Jesus’ approach to His disciples is so gentle and loving that they completely miss the point! As you recall, He did try to tell them bluntly, but Peter became indignant and Jesus chastises him (Matthew 16:21-23). Here Jesus speaks of His impeding passion, death, and resurrection once again. His death is necessary for our salvation and He didn’t want His disciples getting in the way.
Force and sheer will power will not prevent Jesus from offering His very life as a sacrifice for us. So, He presents it in this gentlest of manners, “in a little while.” Jesus knows us and how much we can handle. He desires that we see him not only as the Crucified One but also as the Resurrected Savior.
Because he knows the disciples will grieve his absence, He provides a Consoler when the grief becomes unbearable. This is the Holy Spirit, who supports us in our weakness (cf. Rm. 8:26) and gives us strength in the face of adversity.
How can I let Jesus gently guide me in the challenges I face?
Lord Jesus, thank you for your gentle, healing, and loving presence in my life. Help me to be that same consoling presence to everyone I encounter. Come, Holy Spirit!
Copyright 2020 Sr. Nancy Usselmann, FSP
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