In today’s Gospel Our Lord uses a poignant image to illustrate the interplay between Lent and Easter that every Christian experiences: pregnancy. After a first trimester of congratulations, perhaps “happy hormones,” a glowing complexion, albeit with morning sickness and strange cravings, comes the second trimester of hormonal somersaults as the body strains to support itself and the new life it is helping to shape. The weight of the new life about to be born can be a heavy cross as the joyful day draws near, but all that suffering vanishes, or at least is put into perspective, at the sight of a newborn son or daughter, and not just any newborn: your newborn.
Christian life has moments of enthusiasm, especially when we start to take it seriously, but it also has moments of the weight of the cross, of feeling burdened by adverse emotions and sentiments that make it a struggle to even take one step forward in holiness. Temptations are like strange cravings, only harmful ones, or produce an aversion to living a virtuous life. Just as anyone who looks upon a newborn, even a complete stranger, feels an inner joy upon beholding a new life, so we too in our struggles must consider the Risen Christ and the saints, who promise us that a new life will be born thanks to our efforts and a joy that will never pass away.
Let’s ask Our Lord to help us bear the burden of our crosses today and just take one step further on the path of holiness, confident that it is a step toward the birth of a new and joyful life.
Readings: Acts 18:9–18; Psalm 47:2–7; John 16:20–23.