To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 19:1-8; Jn 16:29-33
Though the disciples think that they have understood everything that Jesus has said, and that it is plain to them, they actually misunderstand. While Jesus has used many figures of speech to make his points, the disciples mistakenly think that he has used only one. They also do not realize that Jesus had spoken of a future time when he would speak plainly and when things would be clear, and erroneously think of that time as the present. Where Jesus was appealing to the heart, the disciples used their minds. Their knowledge is an intellectual knowledge and thus, focuses only on the present and not on the future. They forget that the whole story of Jesus can only be completed with the departure to the Father. This is why Jesus has to reorient them and remind them again of the “hour”. The “hour” here is the hour of death which will result in the scattering of the disciples. They will all abandon him at his death. Yet, Jesus will not be alone because he knows that the Father will be with him, even if no one else is. Thus, even when faced with the most difficult situation, namely death, Jesus can have peace and this is the peace that he will gift to the disciples. This peace will enable the disciples to stand up to all the trials and tribulations they will encounter.
The last words of Jesus here are words of confidence and hope: “But take courage; I have conquered the world.” Even as he goes to his death, Jesus knows that victory will be his. He will overcome, through his cross, all the negative powers that try to prevent his love from reaching the ends of the earth.
It takes courage to believe when we are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and difficulties of life. It is at times like these that our faith is tested and tried. It is at times like these when we have to ask ourselves whether we believe that God is still working for our good. To have courage in the face of adversity, to believe in the face of trials, and to trust and have faith when everything seems to be going wrong, is to have the confidence in the Father that Jesus had. This attitude can be ours if we open ourselves to God’s abundant grace and realize the impermanence of all that assails us. It is to know that, like Jesus, we too will overcome the “world”. The movement from present sorrow, pain and trial, to future joy, peace and hope, is possible and even guaranteed because Jesus has overcome.
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