May 5, 2008
Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
John 16: 29-33
The disciples said to Jesus: "Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you and that I want to grow in my love. Today I put all of my thoughts, words, and actions into your hands so that you will transform them. I want to do your will, and I know that you will give me the courage to remain faithful to you at every moment of the day.
Petition: My Lord and my God, increase my faith. Grant me the grace to trust in your continual presence and to help you conquer the world through love.
1. Be Not Afraid The disciples’ dialogue with Jesus in today’s Gospel takes place in the setting of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Jesus had been teaching the disciples for a period of years, yet only now do they say, “Now you are talking plainly.” The truth is that Jesus’ message was often clear, but his disciples didn’t always want to hear or understand things that would be difficult for them. When he forewarned them about his upcoming suffering and death, the Gospel tells us: “They were afraid to ask him about this” (Luke 9:45). Fear of sacrifice can often cloud our understanding of Christ’s teachings. However, we must also remember that Jesus knows everything, even the fear that sometimes tempts us to flee sacrifice. But our fears are no match for the strength that his love provides us.
2. True Faith “I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:28). These words of Jesus convinced his disciples that he knew everything. Greater knowledge about Jesus was a step forward, yet it seems that knowledge wasn’t enough. They would soon betray the Lord through their actions: “The hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.” When they saw their Master suffering and being rejected, their faith wavered because it was incomplete. True faith in God is more than a correct understanding of things. True faith challenges us not only to know Jesus but also to love him through our actions.
3. Calm after the Storm Everyone loves a winner, but not everyone sees the obstacles that were overcome to achieve the victory. Jesus, on the other hand, is always straightforward with us. He tells us, “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). In today’s Gospel he is very clear that our call to follow him will cause us trouble. Not everyone will understand us when we follow the gospel in our daily life. At times we might even feel that there is no one close to support us. “Take courage,” Christ tells us. He is our great reward. He and the Father, and the Holy Spirit are always with us. They are the peace that awaits us after we have been faithful in the battle.
Conversation with Christ: I believe in you, Lord. You love me so much that you gave your life to save me from my sins. Your love is what gives me courage and finesse in times of trouble. Help me to remain faithful to you always.
Resolution: I will patiently bear any moments of tedium or loneliness today by making an act of faith in Jesus’ presence and closeness.
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