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

"A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me." With these intentionally enigmatic words, Jesus probably alluded to his death (the departure) and his resurrection (the return), which would occur shortly thereafter. The disciples, however, struggled to understand this mystery. Jesus had tried to tell them three times. And each time he had to realize their distance. Jesus wants to share with them the hour that is about to live in every way. But the disciples are distant from his heart and his thoughts. It is an experience that we know well: how many times we do not understand the Gospel because we are too focused on ourselves! In reporting these words, the evangelist extends their meaning also to the following Christian experience which will be marked by the pain of the disciples for the persecution they will have to suffer, while they see the euphoria of their enemies for their pain. But there comes the joy of God's intervention that frees them from evil. The evangelist's insistence in reporting the term "little while" (repeated seven times in four verses) suggests that the Lord does not delay in intervening to help the disciples. Jesus sees the disciples discussing what he had said and intervenes, without answering their questions, saying: "You will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice: you will have pain, but your pan will change into joy." Jesus, who on that evening had the future of the Church before his eyes, in a little while will pray to the Father for them and for those who will believe in their word (Jn 17:20) and he reassures them that he will soon come to their aid and their sadness will be changed into joy. It is the mystery of the Christian life as the struggle between good and evil that we share. Jesus reassures us: with his victory he will give us joy.