OK, a bit of goofiness to start us off today…at the end of our first reading, we read that Paul had his head shaved because he had taken a vow. I seriously considered doing a reflection on Paul’s shaved head. (Of course, on the importance of keeping vows.) Oh, well…maybe some other time. At the beginning of today’s first reading, the Lord speaks to Paul in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.” Sounds like sound advice for us, too!
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus tells the disciples that they will grieve, but that their grief would become joy. He then uses the analogy of a woman having a child. Now, having never given birth, I cannot fully relate to this. But since I was in the delivery room for the birth of our four children, I have an inkling. That’s gotta hurt. You have to wonder why anyone would ever have more than one child. But then Jesus’ words ring true. Once the child is born, all that pain becomes joy.
I think this is similar to when a loved one dies. We experience great grief. But as time goes on and God begins to heal our broken hearts, we can remember all the wonderful times and be filled with joy. In fact, life is like that. They say that time heals all wounds. Know that if you are experiencing grief, things will get better. You will again experience joy. And my prayer is that the joy of the Lord will live on in your heart always.
Father, help us to experience the joy of the Lord. Be with all those who are grieving, and heal their hearts. Amen.