In a Little While—Joy

Friday of the Sixth Week in Easter, Year B    John 16:16-33

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

Verses of great promise are here that we need to commit to memory. “Whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you.”

This will happen because ironically, Jesus is going away. He plays on the notion of a “little while.” He is going to be taken away in the coming crucifixion, but soon after, he is coming again in the Holy Spirit, bringing a joy that no one can take away.

Think of it: no one can take away the joy that Jesus longs to give you in the Holy Spirit! You and I will go through various mood swings from those sinful tendencies of selfishness and fear that still lurk about, but they need not last very long. “In a little while” joy can return. Joy is to be the continual state of our lives as Christians.

The Reading for Today

Fridays in the Easter Season are dedicated to the Gospel of John.

Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

9 thoughts on “In a Little While—Joy

  1. This scripture speaks to me of the transformation in our relationship with God because of Jesus.

    Before God came in the earthly presence of Jesus humanity’s relationship with him was a little bit distant. He loved and took care of his people. They raised their prayers to him, predominantly together in at least a minyan, but not always. God’s word came to the people mostly through the prophets or priests.

    Jesus’ presence here on earth gave the people around him the ability to speak to God face to face, even if they did not know it. A personal face-to-face conversation was possible for some blessed few, but not much changed for the greater part of the population.

    Joy comes with the death and resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Conversation with God is personal. No other human is required, although group prayer has a special place and blessing. We can have an open conversation with God because of the Trinity. If we listen we can even hear him speaking to us personally. What greater joy can there be than to have a personal, intimate relationship with God who loves us perfectly as individuals?

    33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”

    Oh, yes, this firestarter is personal.


    • “We can have an open conversation with God because of the Trinity.” Great line, Joy!

      These past few days I’ve been thinking how much the structures of churches get in the way of the inner conversation of God with the soul. What a community is meant to be is a place where conversations others are having with God become shared, supporting and celebrating the faith experience of each person.

      I led a study group on the book, A Testament of Devotion, by Thomas Kelly. What a joyous work! Here is a site that offers some quotes,, along with other authors. Scroll down to Thomas Kelly.

      On the way you’ll pass Brennan Manning who officiated at my Gina’s and my wedding in the Chapel of the United Nations in 1984. Brennan was very helpful to me when I made the transition from being a Jesuit priest into the open-ended ministry to which I am called. There’s the word “open” again! I would like to help others to get in touch with the open conversations they are having with God all the time, but need help in connecting to it.


  2. Words of understanding the scripture are not mine. They are a holy gift that come into my heart and through my hands or mouth. At times they bring greater understanding after I read them again. They are part of that open communication with God.

    Your description of what a community is meant to be is wonderful and corresponds exactly with what I have been blessed to experience in spiritual formation classes I have led. The blessing is astonishing as are the freedom, joy, and healing that come when we are together.

    “I would like to help others to get in touch with the open conversations they are having with God all the time, but need help in connecting to it.” – AMEN! You will, even if it is only a few at a time. Look to your gifts.

    I agree, the structure of the church can get in the way. I also am sure that there are those whose understanding of God is so wrapped around that structure that they would be afraid without it. What to do? The answer to that question is bigger than me.

    I checked out the website you recommended. I would have loved to have been in your class. The first thing I thought of when I began to read was “blessed are the poor in spirit.” Thank you for sharing. I might have to find the book and read it.


  3. A Testament of Devotion is just wonderful. It makes a great work to share in a small group. Thomas Kelly’s Quaker background is in contrast to the over-structured manner in which we often conduct church activities and worship.


  4. I have been blessed to guide a couple of exercises based on Quaker traditions. They are strong in their freedom and openness to the Holy Spirit. One of the strongest, most special was a Clearness Committee. I think John Wesley would agree that things have gotten too heavily structured.


  5. Could the institutions of religion be tempted to be as the Tower of Babel–making their own way to God by their own efforts, instead of by the grace of God?


  6. Now that’s a heavy question. “Could” they? I think it is a risk. I look at how strongly and loudly individual denominations stand their ground and say “we have it right and you don’t.”

    Isn’t God God? Isn’t there only one basic groundwork found in the Scriptures? It seems to me that the places where we differ are the places of man’s own doing. Yes, we are all different and yes, differences should be recognized, even celebrated. I know there are some differences in denominations that I have problems with. However, but in no way should they pull us away from being one comunity, one body of God.

    The churches may build their Babel, but it can only fall. There is no way to God other than his grace. The great sorrow is all of the people who never learn the truth of this grace.


  7. Perhaps this is exactly the right time to think about Babel. It was at Babel that God changed mankind’s language from one into many and scattered them across the earth. Babel was the beginning of a great confusion.

    The day of Pentecost is upon us. We remember it next Sunday. Pentecost is then the Holy Spirit brought the ability to speak many languages to the disciples, allowing them to spread the Gospel to many. Today the Lord’s Prayer is said across the globe in every language. The solution to the great confusion is present, even if not recognized.


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