“May the comforting assurance of the Lord be our hope and confidence!”
(Based on Acts 18:1-8 and Jn 16:16-20 – Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter)
A young man had joined a new parish.
After a couple of Sunday Masses, he went across to an elderly person, whom he had observed to be quite joyful and in good cheer.
The young man asked him: “I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks that you radiate a great sense of joy.
Is there any particular philosophy that you follow, which makes you always rejoice?”
To that, the elderly man, smiled and reaching out to his shirt pocket, handed the young man a small handwritten-card and said: “Have this for yourself, and you will never be sad!”
The young man, curious to know what it was, read the words on the card:
“Fret not – God Loves you! (John 13:1)
Faint not – God Holds you! (Psalm 139:10)
Fear not – God Keeps you! (Psalm 121:5)”
“Fret Not, Faint Not, Fear Not!”
These were three assuring phrases that the man had made the philosophy of his life
… and those words, kept him always joyful and in good cheer.
Life is very often “uncertain!”
Such uncertainties, often put us through tensions or anxiety or in an “uncomfortable” state of mind!
However, the Lord always assures us in such “uncertain” situations: “Fret Not, Faint Not, Fear Not!”
The Gospel of the Day presents the disciples undergoing “an experience of uncertainty”…
… and Jesus assuring them with hope and courage.
Jesus told His disciples, “A little while and you will see me no more; again a little while and you will see me” (Jn 16:16)
But these words of Jesus put the disciples into a state of dilemma
They failed to grasp the meaning of the words of Jesus and were confused!
They began to have a discussion on the phrase of Jesus – “a little while”
“What does he mean by ‘a little while'”? (Jn 16: 18)
How long was this “little while” going to be?
How does He define the phrase “a little while”?
If they knew exactly how long this “little while” would last…
…. then they would have been more courageous and patient
But now the disciples find themselves to be confused and in dilemma.
However, Jesus the Good Shepherd, knew the confusion of His little sheep
But He doesn’t define the phrase “a little while”
He doesn’t say that it is a particular moment of time that can be considered as a countdown!
He doesn’t refer to it as being an exact measure of time, to which one can count and gauge!
Instead, Jesus defines “a little while” in terms of an experience…
… an experience of weeping and lamenting turning into rejoicing
… an experience of sorrow turning into joy (Jn 16:20)
Is our life today in a state of crisis and confusion?
Is our life today passing through waves of troubles and the deserts of anxiety?
Is our life today moving along the rough terrains of calamities and the valleys of brokenness?
Then the Lord assures us…
… “In a little while” and things will be fine!
… “In a little while” and the sunshine will appear again!
We might complain… How long is this “little while!”
We might argue…. this “little while” is being too agonizing!
But the Lord invites and challenges us to look to Him, telling us…
“I too have had my painful and agonizing moments… in My life and especially on the Cross
I too had My experience of feeling ‘how long is this little while going to last’…
But I stood firm and patient in trusting the Will of My Father…
… I held on the mighty Providence of my Father and knew that a bright morn awaited Me”
Yes, Jesus, through the Gospel wishes to encourage us and strengthen us…
… in sufferings, to love Him strongly!
… in hardships, to trust in Him deeper!
… in uncertainties, to depend on Him greater!
St Paul and the other early Christians experienced much persecution and opposition.
Yet, they – being convinced of the Presence of the Lord – gave bold witness to Christ and His Kingdom…
… “And he argued in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks!” (Acts 18:4)
Surely, life will take us through many experiences of “uncertainties”
… We may tend to lose our patience!
… We may feel like giving up!
… We may want to quit!
But let us turn to the Lord for strength, grace and courage…
… and listen to Him whispering to us…
“Hold on my Child! I am with you… embracing you in my arms!
In Me, your weeping will be changed to rejoicing
In Me, your sorrow will be turned to joy!”
May the assurance of the Lord: “FRET NOT, FAINT NOT, FEAR NOT”…
… be our hope and confidence!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE
According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church.
In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses, but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.
(CCC # 1623)
- Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
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