Third Sunday after Easter

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John 16: 16-22

Your weeping will turn into rejoicing

Difficult passage we have today. In fact, it is not easy to catch whole of what Jesus is talking about here. Some of us might find ourselves with the disciples scratching our head and say “what in the world is Jesus talking about”? To some of us it might seem vague.

We know that Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds. But when he spoke to the disciples, he was always clear and went straight to the point. So why this uncertainty in today’s passage?  “”A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.”

I want to mention here that Jesus is suggesting more than One meaning to his teaching.

We know that there are people in our society who know how to use words, how to play with words. Among them we have the politicians and the lawyers. Let me not go any further…Now, Jesus is not a deceiver. He means his words. He wanted to give more than One meaning. He wanted to say that there will be a short period of time that he will not be seen. That period is marked by sorrow and weeping. But after that short period of time, there will be another period of time in which he will be seen and this will be a time of great joy.

We can see two clear understandings of what Jesus is referring to here:

1.  This could refer to the death of Jesus that was very close.  We remember that he said these words the night before he was arrested. He could be referring to the time where he will die and that will create sorrow and anguish in the mind and spirit of the disciples. Those who will perpetrate his killing will be happy. But with his resurrection, the disciples will rejoice.

2.  But there is a second way of understanding this text. Jesus could be referring to the period before Pentecost. There will be weeping and sorrow among the disciples. But that will change into great joy and happiness with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

You may be asking yourselves what do we get from all this? How does weeping change into rejoicing?

Suffering is a great mystery. How do we cope with it when our hearts are broken? Can it be explained? All over this earth there is suffering: violence, war, serious illnesses, broken relationships, people dying prematurely, and loss of job and safe housing. As you face this mystery yourself you may ask: Why does God allow it?

How does weeping change into rejoicing? The answer to that question is very simple: through the work of the Holy Spirit when we read and meditate on the word of God. In the Scriptures, we see and have a personal relationship with the Lord. Let me rephrase this: Jesus reveals himself to us when we listen to his word, which is the word of God. As Paul said in his letter to the Philippians 3:10, we “want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead”. That is our joy. By knowing Jesus, struggle changes into victory over sins, over sufferings, over sickness.

There is no rejoicing without the death, the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When you are struggling with things in life, when you are experiencing the lowest moment of your life, fighting with everything around you, sickness, hatred, jealousy, financial hardship, fix your eyes upon Jesus and look upon the Lord that is victorious over everything including death and your mourning will turn into rejoicing. Know that sorrow may last all night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30: 5).