REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 11, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Jn. 16:5-7
Now comes the moment of truth. Jesus will return to the Father. The disciples had spent three year with him. They had faced a lot of challenges, first trying to grasp who He was and giving up everything to follow him. They have struggled to implement what He taught in their daily lives, now they are confronted with the greatest challenge of His imminent departure.
Uncertain about the road ahead, their hearts are filled with grief. We can imagine their grief as they sat listening to Jesus at the last suffer, the years they had spent with him looked like a short time indeed. If only they had known earlier, they would have paid more attention, asked Him more questions, and spent more time praying with Him. But now it will all be taken away.
Yet Jesus comfort them and speak of the necessity for Him to go to the Father so that He can send the Holy Spirit. What’s interesting in our gospel reference today is that Jesus pointed out to them that “grief” has filled their hearts because of what He has said to them. Clearly, this grief in their hearts is because they do not understand what they will soon experience and do not want their relationship with Jesus to change.
Throughout our lives, our Lord will call us to change. At times, He calls us away from that with which we are familiar and comfortable, and He calls us to something new. This can be frightening and can become the cause of “grief” for us also. To help, let’s consider this passage above in detail.
Though dramatic change is not necessarily a regular occurrence throughout life, almost everyone will experience change at various moments in life. And when that change occurs in accord with the will of God, it must be embraced with hope and great expectation.
Vocational changes, such as getting married, having children, or entering a religious vocation, always bring with it much change—but a change that God can use for much good. Also, the death of a loved one, a move to a new community, a new job or school, the establishment of new relationships and the like can be difficult but also fruitful.
Since our gospel reference today specifically refers to the change that comes from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it might be helpful to consider the fact that whenever some new change takes place in our lives, the Holy Spirit is there, waiting to enter the new situation in ways we could have never imagined.
Reflect, today, upon anything that our Lord may be asking of you regarding a change in your life. Are you open, ready and willing to do whatever He asks? Or are you fearful or grieved by the thought of some change. Be open to anything our Lord asks of you and know that the full embrace of His holy will is the only path to true happiness in life.
My Jesus, You prepared Your disciples for the new life of grace that they would receive after Your death and Resurrection. Though fearful and uncertain, they embraced the new life You called them to live, and You did marvelous things through them. Please open my heart to the full embrace of my vocation and any changes that You desire for my life. I say “Yes” to You, my Lord, and pray that You work powerfully through me by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, I trust in You.