May 11 (Jn 16:20-23a)

A Christian who was known for his deep faith in God was going through an extremely sorrowful time.

>> In the time of recession, he had lost his business

>> His beautiful house was made to be vacated

>> Adding to that, he also lost his precious wife to death

Yet, he steadfastly held on to his faith.

One day, while he was out, walking in search of employment, he stopped to observe some people who were doing stonework on a large church.

He observed that one of them was chiseling a very small triangular piece of rock.

“Where are you going to put that small triangular stone”, he asked curiously.

The watchman replied:

“Do you see that little groove, right atop the tower?

>> Well, I’m shaping this stone down here, so that it will fit in up there!”

Tears filled the man’s eyes, as he walked away hearing those words.

>> For God had spoken to him in his troubled situation of life, as he felt the Lord reminding him: “Well, I’m shaping the stone of your life, down here on earth, so that it will fit in up there in heaven!!”

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus declaring the reality of the presence of pain, suffering and sorrows in spiritual life, and yet those factors being pathways and passages to experience deep joy and bliss!

Not negating the actuality of the darker side of life, Jesus also mightily displays the large canvas of life which is enveloped in the light of happiness…

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (Jn 16: 20)

Jesus was making His Apostles aware of the realities of His passion and death.

> He had come into the world to die!

>> Death was the goal and fulfilment of His life.

To the delicate and fragile minds of the Apostles, the Lord gives a very practical analogy: the pains and the bliss of motherhood…

“When a woman is in labour, 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” (Jn 16: 21)

This analogy of the Lord sheds light and hope for our sufferings and pains in life too.

Mothers know the pain of giving birth to a child.

To others, this pain, though not experienced, can be vaguely understood as being a very painful experience.

>> The pain is too excruciating…

>> The pain causes to think that everything within is being pulled out, with a piercing pain…

>> The pain sometimes makes the person to even cry out ‘I wish this never happened to me’ ….

Jesus says that the hardships, sufferings and trials that we undergo in life are such.

But the moment, the child is delivered and the mother sees the innocent face of her tender babe, the whole scenario of emotions changes…

>> The excruciating pain is replaced by a thrilling excitement and exhilaration!

>> The nerve-wracking ache is replaced by a heavenly joy and happiness!

And Jesus, such will be our joy too, if we are also faithful and loyal to the Lord, in pains and sufferings!

This is indeed a higher spirituality… a higher level of holiness…

>> To cherish joy, even in the midst of pain

>> To radiate happiness, even in the thick of sorrows.

It is to this elevated floor of sanctity that the Lord invites us.

>> He is with us to hold our hands

>> He is wanting to embrace us in love, as He beckons us to come nearer to Him.

When life chisels the rock of our life with pain…

>> When problems chip away the bits of consolations in us…

… With hope, trust, faith and strength,

>> Let us be remind ourselves the assurance of the Lord: “Well, I’m shaping the stone of your life, down here on earth, so that it will fit in up there in heaven!!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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