Monday, May 11, 2009

Rejoice That I Go

May 12, 2009

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

By Beth DeCristofaro

They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, … On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe… (where) they strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." (Acts 14: 19, 20, 22)

Jesus said to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. (John 14, 27-28)


May your peace flourish within me, my Lord and my God. When my heart is troubled or afraid, fill me with your grace that I might remember that you are greater than the limits and evils of the world. May your peace that is greater than my hurt, dread, anxiety and shortcomings transform me, human as I am, into your presence in the world, able to preserve in faith.


The disciples must have heard Jesus’ words with dismay. How often are our hearts troubled and afraid because of the many leave-takings in our lives? As a junior in college I lived in France for a year. The day I left home, my excitement at the adventure ahead was almost exhausted under the fear and sadness gripping me as I hugged goodbye to my parents at Dulles airport. And years later, while living in Texas, when the phone call came telling me that my dad had finally succumbed to leukemia, my heart almost broke even though in my deepest core I knew that my kind and loving father was with God and I would someday be reunited with him. Moving to a new city, leaving a rewarding job, losing the companionship of dear friends or family, accepting a new way of life are all full of hope and yet so very thorny. They are all things which the disciples were asked to do.

Jesus assured his friends that their fear and sorrow would be wiped away when he returned. Henri Nouwen says: "’Can we drink the cup?’ is the most challenging and radical question we can ask ourselves. The cup is the cup of life, full of sorrows and joys. Can we hold our cups and claim them as our own? Can we lift our cups to offer blessings to others, and can we drink our cups to the bottom as cups that bring us salvation?” The disciples needed grace to understand as do I today. Jesus did return. He is with us even closer than when he lived and he will never leave again.

In drinking the cup we not only walk in the footsteps of Jesus, his obedience to the Father fulfilling our obedience to Him, but we walk in the footsteps of those who preceded us. We stand on the shoulders and share in the grace that allowed Paul to get up after being stoned in order to spread the Word. It is in drinking our cups to the bottom that brings us salvation. It is in our humanity that we bear the sadness and in our baptism that we rejoice in the hope.


On May 3, Pope Benedict spoke: “I leave (May 8) for my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where men and women first heard the voice of the Good Shepherd. I ask you all to join me in praying for the afflicted peoples of that region. In a special way I ask that you remember the Palestinian people who have endured great hardship and suffering. May the Lord bless them and all those who live in the Holy Land with the gifts of unity and peace.” (as reported by

Keep all who are marginalized, under siege or enduring hardship in your prayers today that in the sorrows they experience they know that Jesus returned for them.

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