Friday, May 15, 2015

I Am With You

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

By Colleen O’Sullivan

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision, “Do not be afraid.  Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.”  (Acts 18:9-10a)

Jesus said to his disciples:  “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.”  (John 16:20-22).


“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   (Matthew 28:20b)


The anxiety levels around that table after the Last Supper must be soaring off the charts.  Jesus has been talking about leaving for quite a while, long enough that it has taken us two weeks of daily Gospel readings to get to this point, and there is still more that Jesus will say.  No one likes to face loss, and Jesus knows that.  The world won’t care when Jesus is gone; many will rejoice.  But Jesus is talking to his closest friends, who will be devastated at his suffering and death.

From our vantage point, we know what happens after Jesus dies.  Who knows what Judas thought would happen when he handed Jesus over.  But, whatever he envisioned, in the face of Jesus’ Crucifixion, he committed suicide.  He didn’t stick around to express remorse or seek forgiveness.  Peter, too, betrayed Jesus, but we know he felt bitter sorrow for deserting his friend in his greatest hour of need.  The disciples as a group were frightened and like sheep without a shepherd.  They hid, shaking and trembling, behind closed doors.  On the third day, two of them gave in to despair and brokenheartedly began trudging home to Emmaus. 

Jesus, envisioning such things, tells the disciples seated around the dinner table that the grief they will feel will not be the last word.  He says he will see them again.  And when that happens, incredible joy will fill their hearts, a joy that no one can ever take away.  But, at that moment, they don’t know about Easter or the Resurrection or the Risen Lord.  They only know that all this talk of leaving is making them wish they were somewhere else.

You and I always have the Risen Jesus with us.  He says to us what he said to Paul in Corinth, “I am with you.”  He hopes that we never forget that.


Life, however, is made up of many dyings and risings.  And sometimes the pain of walking through the dark valleys seems every bit as sharp as the pangs of childbirth.  Everything else is screened out, including that whispered promise, “I am with you always.”  But hold on to Jesus’ promise that the dark gives way to the light, that pain yields to joy.  One of the most important things I’ve learned from St. Ignatius of Loyola’s teachings is to get through the times of pain and spiritual desolation by remembering other days when I could see, feel or hear Jesus’ presence.

When you are praying today, take a few minutes to reflect on times when you’ve been as sad or fearful as the disciples were as they sat around that dinner table or as they stumbled through the next few days.  How have you dealt with it?

1 comment:

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you.

God bless.