May 15, 2015
Friday, 6th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 18:9–18
Gospel: Jn 16:20–23
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. A woman in childbirth is in distress because her time is at hand. But after the child is born, she no longer remembers her suffering because of such great joy: a human being is born into the world.
“You feel sorrowful now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice. And no one will take your joy from you. When that day comes you will not ask me anything. Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my Name, he will give you.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Somebody came up with a comic strip of a mother hen struggling to free herself from her husband who was choking her by the neck over a baby elephant he found among her newly hatched chicks! After going through the hassle of egg-laying and incubating those eggs, didn’t the hen deserve a break? But this was only a comic strip, and the subject was a fowl. Experience tells us that child delivery brings enough joy to erase the pangs of labor. Jesus used this to bring closer to human experience his promise of joy to those who suffer.
Nature echoes this promise. We observe that after the rain come the rainbow and the sun; after the darkness comes the light. When the rainbow comes in its entire splendor we hardly remember the rain. If you find this too poetic, check it out in actual experience. When this writer passed the 2014 bar exam all the wounds inflicted by law school turned into scars, and all scars into lessons learned, and all lessons learned into emblems of the triumph of the resurrection. There is no hurt that joy cannot heal.
The relationship between hardship and success may not even be simply consequential but causal. If one wants gain he must undergo pain. Actress Jane Fonda cashed in on this by using “No Pain, No Gain” as a catch phrase to promote her series of aerobic workout videos in 1982. She was not the first to come up with this formula. Already in the second century, Rabbi Ben Hei had said: “According to the pain is the gain” (Wikipedia).
This teaching was the pivotal point of everything that Jesus taught. He himself did not resurrect until after he had shed his blood in a worst form of death reserved to hard line criminals. At macro level we see in this teaching Jesus’ promise of heaven after a difficult life of discipleship on earth.
This fills us with hope. Nobody suffers ad infinitum. To the hen in that comic strip it was perhaps just a matter of time because truth had yet to come out. In due time joy comes to wipe out all the tears after a period of sorrow. May Jesus’ promise of joy help you to find meaning in what you suffer! – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY: God our Father, increase our faith so that we may never lose sight of your promise of eternal life. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR was born in Spain (12th century). From an early age he was employed as a farmer. After the early death of their son he and his wife agreed to live in continence. One time, his fellow workers complained that his religious practices caused him to be late at work. His master hid himself to watch and saw Isidore coming late, but also saw angels assisting him. His generosity to the poor was so great that he often reserved for himself only the scraps they left over. He died in 1130.