Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 16,16-20

In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again.

Then some of his disciples said to one another, 'What does he mean, "In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again," and, "I am going to the Father"?

What is this "short time"? We don't know what he means.'

Jesus knew that they wanted to question him, so he said, 'You are asking one another what I meant by saying, "In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again."

'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.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus continues to speak to his disciples and tells them about his imminent departure and forthcoming return, which will turn their sadness into joy. We could say that he is not saying "goodbye" but "see you soon." "A little while," he says, "and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me." The disciples are a bit disorientated by these words, but Jesus is trying to show them how they will be able stay near to him even when they cannot see him anymore. He tells them that soon they will no longer be together, but he also says that he will come back to be at their side. In reality, Jesus is talking about his death and resurrection. Before the disciples are overcome with disappointment and discouragement, Jesus wants to explain to them that the painful, wrenching absence that they will experience at his departure from earth to return to the Father is not, in reality, a separation. He will leave them, but only after his resurrection, that is, after his victory of life over death, which will allow him to overcome every distance. What matters is whether or not we look for him and want to be near him. The disciples are upset by what seems to be a paradox: how can physical distance become even closer proximity? Jesus does not leave this troubling question without an answer. He tells his disciples that the sadness they feel at his departure will become a prayer of invocation, capable of transforming the sadness of distance into the joy of rediscovered proximity. In effect, all men and women, in every part of the world, can have the Lord at their side if they call on him in prayer: the Lord will speak to their hearts through his Word, through the Eucharist, and through the love of the community.