In the 16th chapter of John, we find Jesus foreshadowing his earthly exit to his disciples. He makes a point to contrast the pain and persecution that they will face in evangelizing with the joy and peace found in a life lived with the Holy Spirit and eventual eternal life with the Father.
The message in today’s gospel is simple: through the pain, God is with us. Though we may know it full well, that fact is sometimes one of the hardest to grapple with. How often do we find ourselves so overcome with pain or grief that God is the farthest thing from our mind? The beautiful thing about it is that no matter what we do or don’t do, God sees that pain. In the throes of suffering, those moments when we can’t possibly fathom a way out of the darkness, God remains.
Each and every one of us faces some manifestation of pain in our lives. In our reading from John, Jesus asks us not to discount that pain but to know that at the end of it, joy so strong that nothing may take it away remains. No matter what you may go through, you are wrapped in an unconditional and incomprehensible love, for God always chooses to see you again.
Heavenly Father be with us now and always, letting your Holy Spirit fill us in times of trouble, sorrow, and pain. Lead us to understand that you are there with us even when we fail to see. In your holy name, amen.
Addison Arndt, 2021, Faith & Vocation Fellow ’18-’20
So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.John 16:22