Today's Gospel has
our Lord telling us that “in a little while you shall not see me, and again
a little while and you shall see me.” This has several meanings that
we should be aware of.
First, it is a
prediction of the death and resurrection of our Lord. He would be placed
out of sight, in the tomb, on Good Friday—but then He would be restored to
the Apostles on Easter Sunday—they would be with Him, once again, in the
In another sense,
He is saying that after His Ascension into heaven, they would be on their own
for just a few days, and then He would send the Holy Ghost to be with and
guide them for the rest of their lives. He was saying, in effect that He
would be "represented" by the Holy Ghost during their time on earth.
And certainly, that they would see Him again after a time—each and every
time that they renewed His sacrifice of the Cross in the Lord's Supper, the
Finally, we can
view this passage as a promise made to us. Just as the Apostles, we are
promised the company of our Lord in heaven, after a relatively brief period of
struggle on our own here on earth. And too, just like the Apostles, we
have the twin gifts of the Holy Ghost and the Blessed Sacrament, so that we
are never left truly alone or without God.
There is a
suggestion in our Lord's words that we can expect some degree of difficulty
and struggle in our lives. But, if we put up with and patiently accept
that struggle, a reward waits for us in the end. Just like the woman in
labor that is ultimately rewarded with the joy of having her baby, our earthly
struggle is promised a reward that will make all of our difficulties seem
epistle carries this a bit further, clarifying it in more specific terms for
our lives. He tells us that we must refrain from carnal desires.
This is similar to our Lord's saying that we must not be “of” the world
even though we must be “in” it. Simply stated we must not become
enslaved by the material things around us. We may use them for
legitimate purposes, but must not allow them to dominate our lives.
Peter tells us to
be subject to “the king or to the governors sent by him.” He speaks
of being “subject to our masters,” even if they are not particularly nice.
He is reminding us to be humble. There will be people who have authority
over us this is natural and should not cause us to chafe
under that authority.
By the way. please
notice that when Peter talks about authority, it is legitimate authority,
doing good things. He is not telling us to cooperate in those who usurp
authority for evil purposes. People hold authority only by virtue of
ruling in concert with God’s laws—those who command sinful things rule
When he tells us to
be subject to "every human creature," he is reminding us that we are
no better than anybody else, and have no right to make ourselves look greater
at the expense of another. When we have liberty, or any other advantage
over those around us, we are not to use them as a “cloak for malice,” that
is, as an excuse for doing evil and harming others.
And, finally, St.
Peter is suggesting the need for good example. As Catholics we must not
give those around us any excuse for mocking our Faith because of our personal
bad behavior. Even though the pagans around us may enjoy greater wealth
and influence, the testimony of our good behavior is powerful enough to
silence their foolish teachings.
In fact he says
that our good works can even bring the pagans around to glorifying God in the
So, the Mass today
should give us a great deal of encouragement. There will be
difficulties. But if we adopt a spirit of humility, and detachment from
the world—if we adopt a spirit of doing good for the love of God and the
edification of those around us, we will be delivered from those difficulties
and receive our reward.
“Now, indeed, you
have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your
joy no man shall take from you.”