Introduction: John 16:16-22 is a text that tells us of Jesus’ new presence which will no longer be in flesh, but in his glorified body. But before it happens, he warns his disciples that they will experience sadness and pain (as he suffers His passion and death) but then there will experience joy (at His resurrection).
Send us your Spirit
And enlighten our minds and hearts
to understand your Son’s words
and make in us your dwelling place,
so that, your presence may be more tangible to
us and to others.
- 1. Read: the text John 16:16-22 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- 2. Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- 3. Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord?
- 4. Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- 5. Take: now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: Jesus has been preparing his disciples in various ways about his departure to the Father. In this text Jesus unveils his death as well as his resurrection in words the disciples found difficult to grasp. His words made his disciples puzzled for what could they possibly mean. But, He gently without any reproach for their luck of understanding, tells them to have trust and faith.
Central Message: “In a short time you will no longer see me and then a short time later you will see me again” …. “you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice” … you will be sorrowful but your sorrow will turn to joy”… “and that joy no one shall take from you.”
- a) “In a short time, you will no longer see me.” The disciples were confused and unable to understand Jesus’ words. These words indicate the events that will occur briefly before the very eyes of the disciples, thus the arrest of Jesus and his execution. As Jesus was about to experience the terrible moments of passion and death on the Cross, the disciples were warned that they will experience desolation and sadness as consequence for his death. In in a blink of an eye Jesus will no longer be with them in the flesh, as they usually saw him, but he will be transformed. His relationship with them and his presence among them will remain unchanged and permanent, as he said, “I will be always with you until the end of time” (Mtt.28:20). It can happen sometimes to us when we are in full swing in prayer, we seem to perceive Jesus close to us and understand clearly his words, but suddenly we no longer perceive him and his words become bleak and confusing. So, as this is could happen from time to time, let us be aware of it in order not to lose heart in searching always for the Lord until we find him.
- b) “Then a short time later you will see me again.” These words indicate that the disciples will see Jesus again after his return from death. In other words, they will be able to see him risen and transformed, an event that will cause joy and happiness in their hearts. Jesus taught them that he will continue to be in communion with them (see John 14:19) as he goes to the Father, because “the Advocate, the Holy Spirt will come to you” (Jn 16:7) . This is the new abiding presence of Jesus in us, in the Church and in the world. His continuous presence among us will no longer be in the flesh, but as life-giving Spirit. A new form of his incarnation acting in us and through us as his ministers of healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, and communion.
- c) “You will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice.” Jesus knew that his disciples were confused and wanted to ask him what his words could mean. He did not answer straight away but he told them instead that they will be tested, that they will suffer in a hostile environment, left in a world that rejoices because of the death of Jesus. However, Jesus invites them to trust reassuring them that their sadness and trials will be changed into joy, not any joy, but a joy that no one can take form them. So, Jesus is telling us too that our lives will not be free from pain and desolation which seem sometimes a very long time that never ends, especially when living in despair. Look at the times we are living now, we ask ourselves when this situation of covid19 will end. It has caused already so much anguish, suffering and death. But He would turn to us and say, “trust me, your mourning will turn to hope, and your pain to joy”.
Some questions for our reflexion:
1. How do you experience Jesus’ words: ‘in short time you will not see me and a short time you will see me again?
2. How do you live those moments of suffering, sadness, and despair in your life?
3. What is your attitude towards Jesus when you do not understand his words?