A Thought from the Bishop’s Chapel — Thursday, May 21

In the Last Supper Discourses of the Gospel of St. John, our Lord shares this fascinating prediction with His disciples:  “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (John 16:20).   He is, of course, preparing them for the shocking reality of His horrific execution on the cross and sorrowful burial in a tomb provided in kindness by a disciple (cf. Matthew 27:57-59).  He is also alluding to His glorious Resurrection.      

What does it mean to live the Paschal Mystery?   In part, it means that we identify with our Lord, beginning with His suffering.   Suffering is part of life for any human being.   For the Christian, however, suffering is never the end but the beginning.   When we approach suffering with faith, we see how God transforms suffering.   Faith allows us to understand in a powerful way how suffering has meaning and how God is working in our lives to bring about that transformation.  “[Y]ou will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (John 16:20).  

An essential part of this identification with our Lord is saying “yes” to Him. The obstacle to this is our own restless search for satisfaction or fulfillment in places that are opposed to Him.    Pope Benedict XVI in his book, The Yes of Jesus Christ, makes this perceptive observation: “[M]an is afraid to be alone with himself, he loses his center and becomes a mental and spiritual vagabond who is always out.”   One of the symptoms of this futile restlessness is the “persistent morbid search for the new as a substitute for the loss of the inexhaustible surprise of divine love” (Crossroad Book, 1991, p. 78).   Our Lord wanted His followers to discover “the inexhaustible surprise of divine love” revealed in His Paschal Mystery.   “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (John 16:20).