Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. (Jn 16:20-23)
Weeping, mourning and grief are relative. They are also not eternal. They are for a short time only. They are time bound. It is interesting that Jesus makes such an affirmative statement about these facts. He says “Amen, Amen, I say to you…”. This is one of the revelations that Jesus makes to his disciples. They should not get stuck to their own sufferings and problems.
Grief will turn to Joy. The sufferings of the disciples are for a positive and joy-bringing cause. Sufferings and pain are not to destroy the disciples and not to lead them to despair. They are like the mother in travail. Suffering for that mother is real but the reality that comes with that is more positive and life-giving that the suffering is not noticed. Similarly the sufferings of the disciples are also. The disciples should think of the positive and good effects that come out of the suffering.
Jesus will come back is the joyous news for the disciples that will take away all anguish. Presence of Jesus is such a joy that it cannot be taken away from the disciples. Presence of Jesus is a joy that is all fulfilling and all rewarding and all revealing that there will be no more questions; no more anxieties and worries.
"A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me." So some of his disciples said to one another, "What does this mean that he is saying to us, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" So they said, "What is this 'little while' (of which he speaks)? We do not know what he means." Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Are you discussing with one another what I said, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. (Jn 16:16-20)
Jesus was revealing the father to his disciples and so doing he was revealing himself. One of the points of revelation was about his future: where he will be and where he will go to etc. The disciples did not understand this revelation. They had listened to him many times and most of Jesus’ revelation they understood. But the present revelation they did not understand.
Jesus was talking about his going to the father. But the disciples were not understanding this. Jesus was talking about the father and the heavenly things but the disciples were understanding everything in earthly way and in relation to here and now. They were so much caught up by this world and the thoughts of the world that they found it very difficult to understand the heavenly realities and the revelation of heavenly things.
The disciples will weep and mourn because Jesus has left them in this world and this world will hate them and persecute them. The world will be rejoicing in its own way. Grief and rejoicing are also this worldly realities and expression and feelings. This worldly feelings are not for ever. They would not last longer. The grief that thie disciples feel in this world are of no importance. The true rejoicing are lasting and in fact they are from God.