THURSDAY, SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER
(Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest)
Acts 18: 1-8; Ps 98: 1-4; Jn 16: 16-20
YOUR GRIEF WILL TURN TO JOY
Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Philip Neri, who founded the congregation of the Oratorians, a society of secular clergy. He was a man with a cheerful nature and blessed with good humour, which drew people to him, and consequently to Christ. People saw Christ in him because he dedicated all his time listening, advising, sympathising, hearing confessions and being available for the needs of the people. His trademark was his smile, which left everyone he met feel blessed. He wrote a series of maxims, which were specific reflections for each day of the year as a guide to reach holiness and perfection in everyday life. He spent the day before his death listening to confessions and meeting the many visitors with a smile. At midnight on May 26, 1595, he passed away. He is fondly remembered as ‘the patron saint of joy’ and the ‘humorous saint’.
In today’s gospel, Jesus foretells his death, burial and his return to glory after the resurrection. Yet, the disciples do not understand, especially what he meant by, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me”. Jesus understands the inadequacies of his disciples and ventures to explain further, “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve but your grief will turn to joy”.
Grief associated with an inability to understand God’s ways, to feel his assuring presence, will always be part of a disciple’s life. Nevertheless, joy comes when faith grows, that is, when one learns to have the mind of Christ, the gaze of God. The journey, however, from grief to joy, is a painful journey of perseverance. Jesus is trying to encourage his disciples to persevere through the moments when he is gone and everything seems lost, because he will always return, and when he comes, our “sorrow will turn to joy”.
Response: The Lord has shown his deliverance to the nations.
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