The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter is John 16:16-20.

Christ continues His Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33) in Jerusalem during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After revealing He is sending the Holy Spirit, Christ reaffirms the Trinity and offers His final teaching on how the Holy Spirit will bless and fortify the men with Christ’s word. He now turns to the impending turmoil of the Crucifixion and the joy of the Resurrection to reassure the Apostles. 

Having explicitly revealed His coming death a number of times (Mark 8:31, 9:30-31), Christ speaks in cryptic terms of both the Crucifixion (“see Me no more”) and of the Resurrection (“you will see Me”). Despite being with Christ and hearing of His coming death and Resurrection, the Apostles are confused, failing to be reassured by Christ’s promise of His return. Perhaps afraid or desiring to not appear ignorant, the Apostles question each other, rather than seeking Christ’s guidance. The phrase “little while” (meaning imminent) is repeated seven times in a four verses, further heightening the Apostle’s distress about Christ’s departure.

Knowing the hearts and minds of men, Christ responds with words that both trouble and console. Telling the Apostles they will “mourn” using a Greek word (threneo) that refers to the grief at death, Christ subtlety refers to His coming Crucifixion and warns the Apostles that the world (the Jewish leadership who instigate His death) will be filled with joy, a prophecy that comes to pass with the mocking, taunting and jubilation during Christ’s Passion. Acknowledging their appropriate sorrow at His coming death, Christ strengthens them by promising they will be filled with joy; this joy is the reunion with Christ after the Resurrection.

Awed by Jesus Christ Divine Prophet, Christ speaks in elegant and memorable terms, words which mysteriously point to His Death and Resurrection, words that speak of a future that comes to pass.  Divine King, Christ prepares His disciples for the sorrows that are to come, to steel them for the tests that they will face.   

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at the greatest of Christ’s leadership as He calmly and directly speaks about His own coming death and resurrection so that the Apostles will be prepared for the imminent ordeal. 

2) The Apostles experienced great sorrow at the separation from Christ; so too do men suffer greatly when they are separated from Christ in their daily lives, particularly in times of great turmoil. During Easter, recall Why the Word Became Flesh (CCC 456-460) and give thanks that Christ came to save you from misery and to give you true and lasting joy. 

3) Like the Apostles turned to each other for answers instead of God, men often seek to find answers to their questions in the world. During Easter, refresh your understanding of Filial Trust in God (CCC 2734-2745, 2756-2758) and pray for Jesus Christ to help you trust and constantly turn to Him for guidance each day.