Daily Reflection – 5/19/2023
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” (John 16:20-23)
As Jesus approached his crucifixion, he tried to help his disciples through their confusion about his impending departure. He knew that they would be faced with a huge challenge when they saw him die on the cross. To prepare them, he explained that this was part of the great story that he had called them into. They would experience wrenching grief, and they would feel out of step with the rest of the world. But that wouldn’t be the final chapter. Their grief would be turned to joy, and the story would take on a whole new meaning.
While the disciples had to wrestle through the grief of Jesus’ death, you and I have come in later in the plot. We know about Jesus’ resurrection! If you can try to center our life in Jesus’ victory, you’ll know a joy, a stability, and a peace that nothing in this world can take away from you.
True joy – everlasting joy– comes only through a deep connection with our God, one built on and sustained by a deep reservoir of prayer. If we don’t remember who we are and who we belong to, we can be pulled off course by any flash in the pan, but that’s not what brings true joy; only true faith can provide that.
Is it at times difficult to love others, to place their interest and good before our own, to be flexible and willing to compromise, to be generous with our time and resources? Of course, it is difficult.
But being unkind, being selfish, being ungenerous, is not going to bring us joy. The deepest joy in life is in knowing that we have loved and are being loved in return, that we are kind and generous people. That is what will make us happy and that is why Christ commands it.
Is it difficult to forgive, to put hurts behind us and move on with life? Of course, it is. But refusing to forgive is not going to bring us freedom. It will only assure us slavery to our anger, to our hurt and resentment. Forgiving another is in our own self-interest and that is why Christ commands it.
Is it difficult to be a person of integrity, to be true to our word, fair to others, responsible to those who belong to us? Of course, it is. But one of the greatest satisfactions in life is to know that we have the respect of others and that we are a person of character. That is what brings us happiness and joy and that is why Christ commands us to be such a person.
What Christ commands us to do, he commands us to do for our own good. Ignoring the teachings of Jesus is not some clever way of avoiding an obligation. It is working against our own self-interest. There really is no other way. If we want happiness, if we want fullness of life and joy, there is no other path to choose. For we believe that Christ has the words of eternal life.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, I surrender my anguish and burdens to You. I unite them to Your Cross and trust that You will be there in all things walking with me through my life. May I keep my eyes on the goal and rejoice in Your steadfast love. Jesus, I trust in You.”
Jesus wants his disciples to know and believe that after the difficult days of his crucifixion and death, new life will come forth for them. Jesus also wants us to know and believe that after our difficult days, we also will experience new life. Once again, we will see him and experience His presence with us. We will be able to rejoice when Jesus gifts us with new life and hope.