I went to a funeral last week. My friend Anne, my colleague here in the English department died rather suddenly. She was young, seemed quite healthy until the day after Easter break when she inexplicably collapsed. The three weeks she spent in a coma sort of prepared us for what was to come, as much as there can be preparation in such a situation. And today my cat died, also quite unexpectedly. I shouldn’t really compare the two losses, but it has been a tough week.
In the Gospel today Jesus says, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” I know there is so much that we don’t understand, and I hope there is a bigger picture, some reason for all this. All I know right now is that things are missing in my life and it doesn’t feel right. It feels incomplete to me now. Anne’s empty office, Bart’s empty food dish. I don’t know why these things happen and maybe I can’t understand.
The lines that Jesus speaks next, after the ones in today’s reading are, “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” These lines were read at Anne’s funeral. These lines, next in the gospel, the ones we get to hear on Thursday, give us a sense of hope that seems missing from today’s reading. Today feels incomplete to me now. I cannot bear it now, but later, in a little while, I will see. The shock, the loss, is always something that seems unbearable at the time. But time does ease a wound and in a little while it’s almost bearable. And in a little while we are united again. Jesus had to tell his friends that they would be parted by a horrible death. He had to try to explain an unbearable situation. There’s no way they could understand, no way they could bear it. His next lines are that they will be parted soon, but then they will be together again later on. I’m feeling now like I cannot bear it. And I couldn’t wait for tomorrow to add on the hope, that it will only be a little while.
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