Friday - Easter Time
1) Opening prayer
Lord God, merciful Father,
it is hard for us to accept pain,
for we know that you have made us
for happiness and joy.
When suffering challenges us
with a provocative "why me?"
help us to discover the depth
of our inner freedom and love
and of all the faith and loyalty
of which we are capable,
together with, and by the power of,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Reading - John 16,20-23a
Jesus said: 'In all truth I
tell you, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will
be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers, because her
time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the
suffering in her joy that a human being has been born into the world. So it is
with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be
full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.'
• During these
days between the Ascension and Pentecost, the Gospels of the day are taken from
chapters 16 to 21 of the Gospel of Saint John, and form part of the Gospel
called: “Book of Consolation or of the Revelation acting in the Community” (Jn
13, 1 to 21, 31). This Book is divided as follows: the farewell to the friends
(Jn 13, 1a to 14, 31); witness of Jesus and prayer to the Father (Jn 15, 1 to
17, 28); the accomplished work (Jn 18, 1 to 20, 31). The environment of sadness
and of expectation. Sadness, because Jesus leaves and the nostalgia
invades the heart. Expectation, because the hour is arriving of
receiving the promised gift, that of the Consoler who will make all sadness
disappear and will once again bring the joy of the friendly presence of Jesus
in the midst of the community.
• John 16, 20: The
sadness will be transformed into joy. Jesus says: “In all truth I tell you:
you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice. You will be
sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy”. The frequent reference to sadness
and suffering express the environment of the communities at the end of the
first century in Asia Minor (today, Turkey), for which John wrote his Gospel.
They lived in a difficult situation of persecution and oppression which caused
sadness. The Apostles had taught that Jesus would have returned afterwards, but
the “parusia”, the glorious return of Jesus had not arrived and persecution
increased. Many were impatient: “Until when?” (cfr. 2 Th 2, 1-5; 2 P 3, 8-9). Besides,
a person bears a situation of suffering and of persecution when he/she knows
that suffering is the way and the condition to attain perfect joy. And thus,
even having death before the eyes, the person bears and faces suffering and
pain. This is why the Gospel makes this beautiful comparison with the pangs of
• John 16, 21: The
comparison with pangs of childbirth. All understand this comparison,
especially mothers: “The woman in childbirth suffers because her time has come;
but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy
that a human being has been born into the world”. The suffering and sadness
caused by persecution, even without offering any horizon of improvement, are
not the stertor of death, but rather the pangs of childbirth. Mothers know all
this by experience. The pain is terrible, but they bear it, because they know
that the pain, the suffering is a source of new life. Thus, is the suffering of
the persecution of Christians, and thus, any suffering should be lived, that
is, in the light of the experience of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
• John 16,
22-23a: Eternal joy. Jesus explains the comparison: “So it is with you:
you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy
and that joy no one shall take from you”. When that day comes, you will not
ask me any questions. This is the certainty that gives courage to the tired
and persecuted communities of Asia Minor and which makes one exult with joy in
the midst of suffering and pain. As the poet says: “It hurts, but I sing!” Or
as the mystic Saint John of the Cross says: “In a dark night, with an inflamed
yearning for love, oh happy venture, I went out without being noticed, in my
house all slept!” The expression on that day indicates the
definitive coming of the Kingdom which brings with it its clarity. In the light
of God, there will no longer be need to ask anything. The light of God is the
full and total response to all the questions which could arise within the human
• Sadness and
joy. They exist together in life. How do these exist in your life?
• Pangs of childbirth.
This experience is found in the origin of life of each one of us. My mother
suffered the pain with hope, and this is why I am alive. Stop and think about
this mystery of life.
5) Concluding Prayer
hands, all peoples,
with shouts of joy.
For Yahweh, the
Most High, is glorious,
the great king
over all the earth. (Ps 47,1-2)