Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 18:9-18; John 16:20-23)
“O happy fault!” the “Exultet” proclaims in the Holy Saturday liturgy. This oxymoron declares the desirability of Adam’s sin for having produced the effect of the world’s knowing the Son of God. A woman might similarly speak of her labor as sweet pain in that it accompanies the wonder of a new-born child. In today’s gospel Jesus uses this image of child-bearing to describe the glory of the resurrection after his bloody death.
In the passage Jesus is making his farewell to his disciples. They are confused by his reiterating how they will not see him for a while and then see him again. As is his custom, Jesus uses an image from daily life to give clarity. They will experience sorrow at his leaving them but joy when he returns, just like a woman who after labor sees her baby. His going and coming is also like childbirth as it brings a whole new way of living.
Jesus, the master story teller, is capable of relating his meaning with clear, strong images. As the Word of God, it is only fitting that he uses words artfully. We give thanks for him, especially as we realize that he spoke most eloquently on the cross where he shows us the depth of God’s love.