Daily Reflection
May 17th, 2007

Dick Hauser, S.J.

Rector and Theology Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

In archdioceses and dioceses of the US states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington or in parts of the world where the celebration of Ascension is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Daily Reflection and readings may be found here:
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 18:1-8
Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
John 16:16-20

In archdioceses and dioceses of the United States and in other parts of the world where the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated today, the following readings are used on this Thursday:
The Ascension of the Lord

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

What does this mean that he is saying to us, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'?

We know Jesus loved his disciples tenderly. With his mother they were his dearest friends on earth. In today’s gospel he is preparing them for his departure, “in a little while you will not see me and again in a little while you will see me.” He warns them that his departure would not be easy for them and they would weep and mourn. But he also gives them hope that their sorrow would soon be turned to joy.

Jesus is trying to bring comfort to his disciples for he fully realizes how important his personal presence during his life has been to them. This presence had sustained them throughout his public ministry and was sustaining them now even amid the intense opposition to him that was emerging.

But Jesus knows that he can be present to them in an even more intimate way than through his physical presence. Earlier in John’s departure discourse Jesus had told them that it was better for them that he go for if he did not go the Holy Spirit would not come to them. Through the Holy Spirit he could be present to them -- guiding, strengthening and loving them -- even more intimately than through his physical presence.

Yes, it is better for them that he go.

And it is better for us!

This presence that Jesus promises is his Easter presence! It is the presence that all who have been baptized share. Jesus is alive! Jesus is with us! How blessed we are to live in the Age of the Spirit because Jesus can now be more intimately present to us than was possible during his historical life.

Becoming a mature Christian does not mean simply being guided externally by the teaching and example of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Becoming a mature Christian means identifying the life of the Spirit of Jesus within us and being guided by it. We mature as Christians to the degree we discern Jesus’ presence within ourselves and allow our lives to be directed by his saving power.

The Responsorial Psalm catches our joy: “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.”

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