Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 18:1-8; John 16:16-20)
Weeping is caused by the secretion of fluid from the lachrymal glands to lubricate the surface of the eye. Exactly why people cry is an open question. Some scientists say simply that it is a response to strong emotions. Others, proceeding from biochemical analysis, claim that weeping removes hormones associated with stress.
From experience we associate weeping with loss of affection. We cry when those whom we love take their leave. So parents sob at weddings, and the bereaved weep at funerals. Because he is about to be handed over to death, Jesus in today’s gospel anticipates his disciples’ tears.
In another gospel Jesus tells his disciples, “Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.” He does not mean that crying brings automatic relief. Rather he is saying that when we cry in recognition of our need for divine guidance, help is sure to come. As in the passage today, Jesus is indicating that he will send us his Spirit of joy.