SAINT RITA OF CASCIA, RELIGIOUS (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
Your grief will become joy.
Imagine that you were there in the upper room with the disciples. You have been with Jesus for years, and now he tells you that in a very short time, you will no longer see him. Wouldn’t you be filled with questions, as they were? How could he leave us after we’ve been through so much together? Doesn’t he know that we have left everything to be with him—and now he’s going to abandon us? Doesn’t he know we’ll be devastated?
Jesus understood the disciples’ distress and used that moment to prepare them for the grief that would overtake them upon his death. Jesus didn’t gloss over their grief; he knew that it is a natural part of loss. But he also promised that it would subside. He assured them that their final reunion in heaven would wash away all sadness and bring a joy that would more than surpass whatever they felt at his death.
Whether we lose a parent, a friend, a child, or a spouse, death touches every one of us. And the closer we are to that person, the harder their death hits us. But it is here that Jesus’ words can speak to our pain: “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22).
God knows that our feelings of grief and loss can be intense. Our pain may never go away completely, and even though we move on with our lives, we are never the same. But God promises that as we lift our tear-stained eyes in faith, we can experience his consolation and mercy and live in the hope that we will see our loved ones again. Then we begin to look at heaven and the Second Coming of Christ—not just as something far-off and unrelated to our lives—but with a deep personal longing. We begin to long to be with the Lord as well as with the ones we love. We look forward to the day when there will be no separation ever again. And that’s when our sorrow turns to full joy.
“Father, I long for the day when you will bring all of us together again. Come, Lord Jesus!”