Jesus mysteriously promises His Apostles their coming sorrows will turn to joy. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Virtue of Faith so he can trust the Almighty Father to protect and care for him and by building the Virtue of Prayer so he can always remain close to Jesus and be ready for times of turmoil.
6th Week of Easter – Thursday – Jn 16:16-20
Jesus continues His Farewell Discourse (Jn 13:31-16:33) during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After confirming He will send the Spirit to help the Apostles after His departure, Jesus prepares them for their own ordeal during the turmoil of His Crucifixion by promising they will have the greatest of joy after His Resurrection.
Having explicitly revealed the reality of His coming death a number of times (Mk 8:31, 9:30-31), Jesus speaks in cryptic terms of the Crucifixion (“see Me no more”), and the Resurrection (“you will see Me”). Despite being with Jesus and hearing about His coming death and Resurrection multiple times, the Apostles remain confused and frightened, failing to be reassured by Jesus’ promise of His return. Perhaps afraid or desiring to not appear ignorant, the Apostles question each other, rather than seeking guidance directly from Jesus. The phrase, “little while” (meaning imminent), is repeated seven times in four verses, a sign of great urgency which further heightens the Apostles’ distress about Jesus’ departure.
Knowing the hearts and minds of men, Jesus responds with words that both trouble and console. Telling the Apostles they will “mourn”, using a Greek word (threneo) that refers to a tremendous grief at death, Jesus subtly refers to His coming Crucifixion and warns the Apostles that the world, meaning the Jewish leadership who instigate His death, will be filled with joy, a prophecy that comes to pass with the mocking, taunting and jubilation during Christ’s Passion as He dies on the Cross. Acknowledging their appropriate sorrow at His coming death, Jesus consoles them by promising they will be filled with joy; this prophecy of Jesus comes true when the Apostles experience fervent joy when they are reunited with Jesus after His Resurrection.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be encouraged by how Jesus Comforts the Apostles: the perfection of Empathy, Jesus is keenly aware of the emotional turmoil of the Apostles as they seek to come to grips with His coming execution; Divine Charity, Jesus performs a Spiritual Work of Mercy (Comforting the Sorrowful) by seeking to alleviate the fear of the Apostles; the perfect demonstration of Hope, Jesus promises the Apostles their grief will turn to joy, while sparing them the horrific details of the coming ordeal of the Passion.
Trust in your Heavenly Father to protect and care for you
Realize: Like the Apostles turned to each other for answers instead of God, a Catholic man can make the mistake of turning to men and worldly knowledge instead of the Father to find answers for his spiritual struggles.
Believe: Reflect upon the Filial Trust in God (CCC 2734-2745, 2756-2758).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Faith so I always remember I am Your adopted son and You are my Heavenly Father who protects and cares for me, and hears and responds to my prayers; help me repent from my waywardness and return to You in the Sacrament of Penance.
Always be near Jesus to prepare for times of turmoil
Realize: The Apostles suffered great sorrow during the turmoil when they were separated from Jesus; every Catholic man will suffer if he is separated from Jesus, particularly in times of great turmoil.
Believe: Recall Why the Word Became Flesh (CCC 456-460).
Pray: Jesus, Indwelling Christ, help me build the Virtue of Prayer (a part of Justice) so I speak and listen to You many times a day; allow me to have a close relationship with You so I can quickly turn to You in the inevitable times of turmoil in my life.