|Third Sunday after Easter|
he First Epistle of St. Peter the Apostle, ii. 11-19. Dearly Beloved: I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, having your conversation good among the gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling: or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: for so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thanks-worthy, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
St. Peter here reminds us, 1, that we are only pilgrims on earth and should not fasten our hearts on the world and its goods. He admonishes us, 2, to lead an edifying life, particularly when we are among the adversaries of our faith, for, while we may thus do great good, and awaken respect for the Church an un-Catholic and un-Christian life not only brings shame upon him who leads it, but gives scandal to non-Catholics, and places the Church in a false light. He admonishes us, 3, to be subject to our superiors, for God's sake, for it is He Who commands this obedience (Rom. xiii. 1).
O Jesus, I will impress deeply upon my heart the teaching of Thy apostle, that this world is not my home. Though I should meet in my pilgrimage many adversities, I will patiently combat them, and will not suffer anything to keep me from the way to my true home, heaven. Give me Thy grace, O God, to fulfil this resolution.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. John, xvi. 16-22. At that time Jesus said to His disciples: A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again a little while, and you shall see Me: because I go to the Father. Then some of His disciples said one to another: What is this that He saith to us: A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again a little while, and you shall see Me, and because I go to the Father? They said therefore: What is this that He saith, a little while? we know not what He speaketh. And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask Him, and He said to them: Of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again a little while, and you shall see Me? Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labour, hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish for joy that a man is born into the world. So also you now indeed have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice: and your joy no man shall take from you.
What is the meaning of the expression, "yet a little while"?
Jesus meant that He was soon to leave His disciples, and that during the time of His passion they would have much to endure; but that He would soon see them again, and that then no one should any more take their joy from them. What, indeed, are the sufferings of time, in comparison with the eternal joy to follow, but a small and trivial thing, passing away in the twinkling of an eye? (2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.)
Why did Jesus tell His disciples beforehand of their sufferings and joys?
1. That they might bear their trials the more easily. 2. That they might not believe their master to be unable to preserve them from sufferings. 3. That by looking to the eternal joy they might make light of present troubles, and keep up their courage. Therefore, says St. Chrysostom, "Tell me, if you were called to a temporal kingdom, but before entering into the place, where you were to be crowned, had to spend the night in a dark and offensive stable, would this be hard for you? would you not bear it cheerfully, in expectation of the kingdom?"