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 the disciples and announces to them his imminent departure and his future return. Previously he had told them that he would go to the Father and that he would send them the Paraclete. Now he reassures them in their sadness, promising them that his absence will be brief and that soon they will see him: “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” The disciples are a little disoriented by these words but in reality Jesus wants to point to them his death and resurrection. This is the meaning of his distance that will be transformed soon into a closeness much deeper than the physical one which up until then they had been living. Jesus is speaking of his death and resurrection, but before the disciples are overcome by disappointment and discomfort Jesus wants to explain that the painful break-- represented by his departure from earth to return to the Father--is not a separation in reality. After his death the resurrection will come. It is the victory of life over death. Such victory conquers every separation. What counts for the disciples, back then and today, is to continue to seek Jesus and to desire to be close to him. The apostles seem upset by these paradoxical words: how can physical separation become an even tighter closeness? Jesus does not leave their unsettlement without answering. And he tells them that the pain and sadness for his departure will become a prayer of invocation able to change the sadness of distance into the joy of a rediscovered closeness. In effect, after the ascension of Jesus to the Father, every man and every woman in every corner of the earth can have the Lord next to them and invoke Him with prayer: the Lord will speak to their hearts through his Word, the Eucharist and the love of the community.