May 18, 2023
by Maureen McCann Waldron
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294

Acts 18:1-8
Psalms 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4
John 16:16-20

Celebrating Easter

For those celebrating
The Ascension today

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

"A little while and you will no longer see me,
 and again a little while later and you will see me."
 So some of his disciples said to one another, ....
"What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?"

Today’s gospel always reminds me of my father.  If he got home from work and settled with the newspaper, he might ask my mother when dinner would be ready.  My mother, a wonderful cook but caught up in the disorganization of raising six children, would often reply with deliberate vagueness, “Oh, in a little while.”

He would lower the paper, look over his glasses and say in a solemn voice, “What is this little while of which you speak?”

It was a joke I didn’t understand as a child but one that makes me smile now.  I think about my dad these days and I think this gospel says much more to me now since my father's death last year.

Jesus tells his disciples - and us – “in a little while you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me...” and they ask each other what he could possibly mean.  Yes, he is preparing his disciples for his departure but more than that, he is preparing us for the times we will have a difficult time “seeing” him.

When we are faced with pain, conflict and great loss, sometimes we can be blind to his presence in our lives.  But today Jesus tells us that we will see him again.  How can that be, if he is going to the Father?  He is telling us that we will see him again because we will one day join him there, at the side of the Father.

Jesus also tells us, “You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”  These words can be both discouraging and puzzling.  He speaks them at the Last Supper as he is preparing his disciples for his departure.  They will no longer walk the dusty roads with him, sit down to dinner with him, feel his comforting hand rest on their shoulder or gaze into his loving and challenging eyes.

In the meantime, the world will be rejoicing.  We shouldn't be scandalized or discouraged by that.  No matter how much we grieve, our grief will be transformed - into joy brought on by our faith that we will see Jesus again with the Father.

This is the heart of the Good News Jesus speaks today.  We can live in this world, free from fear, free from anxiety, knowing that Jesus is present to us in this life and that we will join him at the Father's side in the life after.

I take these words to heart and my faith tells me that my father is now happy in the warm embrace of Jesus, and that I will see Jesus and my father again.

Maureen wrote this reflection on these readings in 2003.

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