Readings for Friday May 22, 2009
First Reading: Acts 18:9-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 47
Gospel: John 16:20-23
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.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)
In today's gospel, Jesus discusses His upcoming passion, death and resurrection. Jesus used an analogy of a woman giving birth to describe the joy that is brought about after the labor and birth. I can certainly relate to this analogy, as about seven weeks ago our first child was born. I remember the anguish that my wife went through in going through a very long labor. She was up all night with no food or sleep, and finally the next afternoon God blessed us with a very healthy and beautiful baby girl. The moment we saw her any tiredness or soreness went away as at that moment we held her there was nothing but pure joy. It was one of the most memorable and spiritual moments that I have ever had the opportunity to witness.
I think Jesus used this analogy not only because of His hour coming, but also because we too go through much worrying and anguish in this world. We need to remember that Jesus is always here and providing for us. There is no need to worry or to be afraid, for if we are striving to follow Him and to serve Him in our lives, then we will certainly see Him again. And like the moment that a mother sees her newborn baby, there will be nothing but joy at that moment when we see Jesus.
During labor, I kept reminding my wife that with each labor pain and each thing that comes that is one step closer to seeing our child. We too need to remember that with each trial and each day, we are just one step closer to seeing and being with Christ in heaven.
Mother Mary, pray for us!
Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.