Friday After The Ascension
Acts of the Apostles; 18:9-18; JOHN 16:20-23
IN THIS GOSPEL passage, Our Lord speaks frankly to his close associates words of warning. He makes it abundantly clear that they are going to encounter persecution. “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices” he tells them as the time draws nearer to his passion. He wished to prepare them for the severe trial they will undergo in the near future. Later in his account of Jesus’ arrest and passion, John presents a different version of the behavior of the apostles at the time of our Lord’s arrest than Matthew and Luke provide. John, writing later than the other Evangelists, depicts Peter as aggressively defending his Master with his sword; nor does he imply that any of the eleven flee from the attackers. All the eleven remain at his side. The Lord himself sees to it that they are not taken prisoner along with him. He has other plans for them after his death and the resurrection. As we know from the early tradition all his apostles were to be arrested eventually and only Matthew and John lived to write their separate accounts of our Lord’s final days, his resurrection, and his Ascension that we celebrated yesterday.
This Gospel text we heard just a few minutes ago is immediately preceded in Saint John’s account by his frank depiction of the group of the apostles as bewildered by the Lord’s saying “In a short time you will no longer see me, but after a little while you will lay eyes on me again.” These days after his Ascension that precede Pentecost keep us in suspense as these words of Jesus did for the apostles. We live in expectation of a mysterious gift of God, that of His Holy Spirit. Who knows what that may bring about? May we so spend these days of preparation for this grace that God will bestow on each of us, the gift of His Spirit of divine love.