I love the daily Gospels at this time of the liturgical season. Jesus’ “farewell discourse” is so full of tenderness and even includes all those (of us!) who will believe because of the testimony of his first followers. Today the words that repeated in my heart were “be brave” (Jn. 16:33- New Jerusalem Bible). After acknowledging that all of his closest friends will scatter and abandon him, Jesus says that no matter how bad it gets, “be brave” because he has conquered the world.
No matter how bad it gets, be brave! I don’t quite feel up to it. So many situations in the world each day are sad, outrageous, terrifying and overwhelming. What did you hear on the news today? I heard about gang members in Waco, Texas shooting it out at a local restaurant, killing nine and wounding eighteen. I just saw a photo on Facebook of a hundred desperate refugees in a boat off the coast of Thailand and no country will receive them. And the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement seems to be gathering support in Congress despite vigorous efforts by some very curious alliances to defeat it. I will stop there but I could go on and on.
Jesus, in this good-bye message, told us that times would be full of trouble. But we are to “be brave” because guess what? Just as he was not alone, neither are we. If we are brave enough to put ourselves in service of his mission, he will more than make up for whatever is lacking. Even courage. And we know the end of the story: Love wins!