How encouraging it is to hear Jesus say, "Your grief will become joy." In our Gospel for today, Jesus reassures his disciples that despite the pain and sorrow they will experience, "No one will take your joy away from you."
We know that life has plenty of moments when we experience that grief in our hearts, those times when we have to endure the pain and sorrow of whatever situation we're going through. And during those moments, it's helpful to hear Jesus say, "Your grief will become joy." But what are we expecting with that joy? Do we expect that joy to be simply an absence of hardships, when life is easy and fun, and everything is going our way? If that's the case, even if that expectation of joy comes, how quickly we'll be disappointed when the next round of grief and sorrow comes our way.
The joy that no one can take away is the joy of Jesus Christ himself. It is knowing the presence of Christ in my life, the truth that he has proclaimed that has brought real freedom to my life, the mercy that he has shown to take away my sin, the love that I have experienced knowing that I am a child of God, that no matter what pain or hardship I am experiencing, no one can take that joy away from me.
As he said to St. Paul during his own experience of trials, "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you." God is with us, and that grief will be changed into joy, when we can proclaim, both in our words and in our actions, the saving truth of Jesus Christ.
Father Adam Park grew up in the Washington, DC area. He discovered his vocation to the priesthood while on retreat during his senior year in high school. Being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington, he has served in different assignments throughout the archdiocese.