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There are joys hidden in sadness and blessings in suffering

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 05/28/22

We do not always understand where Jesus is leading us, the meaning of the things that happen to us: We need the patience of constant discernment.

“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

(John 16:16-20)

There are Gospel passages that testify clearly to the difficulty the disciples experience in fully understanding Jesus.

I think these clues are found in the Gospel deliberately to comfort us: We too can allow ourselves to not always understand the Lord, not to understand what he is saying to us, where he is leading us, why some things are happening, or why some things are not happening.

In the face of this kind of confusion Jesus speaks these words:

“Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.”

There are things that in the moment make us weep and convince us that it’s all over; then we realize with time that a blessing and salvation was hidden in that sorrow, and so from sadness we turn to joy.

However, the opposite is also true: There are joys that at the moment make us feel a kind of delusion of omnipotence. We convince ourselves that we can do anything and have power over everything, until we eventually realize that behind those fireworks was hidden a much longer and much more intense night.

It seems that the Gospel wants to suggest that we should be wary of first impressions and always subject everything to patient discernment.

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