Our sorrow turned to joy 


A Gospel Enquiry

Introduction

Thursday of the Sixth Week after Easter is celebrated as Ascension Thursday in some parts of the world, but not in Australia. Nevertheless, the Gospel reading for Thursday of the Sixth Week after Easter shows us Jesus telling his disciples that he will soon leave them. 

When I stumbled with trying to write this Gospel Enquiry – I do that with most of the writing that I attempt – I decided to try a different approach. If Jesus used See, Judge, Act to prepare himself for his last meal with his friends, what would his Gospel Enquiry be like? I then set about the task of re-writing this enquiry. 

The issue of “faith-life” bothered me at first, until I realised that he has included me (and you) in his action.    

The Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again.’

Then some of his disciples said to one another, ‘What does he mean, “In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again” and, “I am going to the Father”? What is this “short time”? We do not know what he means.’ Jesus knew that they wanted to question him, so he said, ‘You are asking one another what I meant by saying: In a short time you will no longer see me, and then a short time later you will see me again.

‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.’ (John 16:16-20)

The Enquiry 

See

  • Jesus is instructing his disciples during his last meal with them before his arrest and his death on the Cross. His disciples are confused by what he says about leaving them. What do you learn about the disciples from this interaction? What do you learn about yourself?
  • Jesus knew his disciples well. He knew they would not understand what was going to happen. So why did he forewarn them? Was he confident that they would come to understand and accept his ascension to his Father? 
  • “… weeping and wailing”: To what is this a reference? When will their sorrow “turn to joy”? How will this transformation come about? What will they have to do to be transformed in this way?

Judge

  • What have you learned from the whole Gospel story about his disciples’ acceptance of his promise to them? 
  • Reflect on the relevance for you of what you have learned about Jesus’ relationship with his disciples, particularly in this part of his last meal with his disciples before his suffering and death on the Cross?     
  • Why does Jesus face his enemies? Why doesn’t he “leave town”? Do you consider what he values to be worth dying for? Do his disciples act in a way that gives glory to God, just as his actions give glory to God?  

Act

  • What is the change that Jesus works to achieve through his life and his mission?
  •  Choose a small action that you can take that you hope will help Jesus with his mission. 
  • Who can you involve in your action and how, when and how often will you get them to participate in your action?

Author: Pat Branson 

Image Source: Public domain photo of The Last Supper, an Italian Renaissance painting, sourced through Picryl.


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