A Little While

Friends in Christ, today concludes the 40 days that Jesus spent with his apostles on earth after his resurrection. These were real days of Faith for them, living, eating, conversing, learning from a Divine, Risen, Man. But this would be Ascension Thursday when Christ ascended back to heaven, and then come 10 days waiting for him to send the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It has been customary however, in most places, to transfer the Ascension to Sunday so that the majority of people can ponder this important feast.
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But the readings today anticipate these events. Today Our Lord’s words to his disciples seem to them mysterious: ‘A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while and you will see me.’ ‘What does he mean by this, ‘little while,’ they ask?
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Christ’s words will be fulfilled really in three ways. First, he refers to his death and resurrection. As Christ went through his bitter Passion, his disciples in horror saw these words fulfilled. One day their loving Master was speaking to them at dinner, the next he was dead, hanging on the cross, then buried. ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me.’ But a little while later – 3 days – their joy was beyond words when they saw Jesus in the resurrection.
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As with many things in the Sacred Scriptures, there are other meanings implied. Our Lord was also referring to the day he will ascend to heaven, and they will not see him. But a little while later, they will see him, when the Spirit of Jesus lives in his apostles – when the Holy Spirit breathes his life into the Church at Pentecost.
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The Acts of the Apostles is called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit is enlivening the Church. We see the Apostles doing what Jesus did: Miracles, curing cripples, healing, preaching repentance – Jesus lives in the Church, in his Mystical Body now. ‘A little while, and you won’t see me’ – the Ascension. ‘Then little while, and you will see me.’ – with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
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Finally, the meaning of Jesus’ words also refers to the great plan of salvation. ‘A little while, and you won’t see me.’ – this is the life we live in which we do not see the Lord in the flesh, but we look forward to the day, in the New World ahead, when we will see him again. ‘A little while, and you WILL see me. And then you will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’

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