Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 18:1-8; John 16:16-20)
A novel about couple undergoing a trial in their marriage reaches a climax when an adolescent dies in a freakish accident. At his funeral the youth minister says that the boy is much happier now because he is with the Lord. Realizing that these words will sound platitudinous, she urges the distraught congregation to have faith. She reminds everyone of a verse from Ecclesiastes saying: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” She has God in mind. He can hold together any people who are struggling, be they a couple with a marriage problem or a community overwhelmed with grief. Jesus intimates the same kind of faith in today’s gospel.
The disciples seem naively unaware of the ordeal that Jesus faces. When he tells them that in a little while they will no longer see him, he is referring to his impending crucifixion. But then they will see him because God will raise him from the dead. Earlier Jesus urged his friends to have faith in him. To overcome the grief they are about to experience they will need to trust in God.
Death separates us from those whom we love. We believe that God will raise up from the dead all who believe in him. Yet when it swallows up those about whom we care about the most, we can hardly help but wonder. At such a moment we are wise to retreat into prayer and mutual support. Doing so, we will not have to wait for the general resurrection to experience God’s glory.