Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Fr. Erbin Fernandez
2017 GOSPEL MEDITATION FOR
29 MAY, 2017, MONDAY, 7TH WEEK IN EASTERTIDE
BY REV FR ERBIN FERNANDEZ & CSC TEAM
“TAKE COURAGE; I HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD!” (JOHN 16:33)
GOSPEL: JOHN 16: 29-33
(I sense Jesus wanting to meet me. I prayerfully call upon the Holy Spirit to be present. I prayerfully read today’s gospel passage slowly once through. I sit in silence for a few minutes with the gospel text. I now pray through the following meditation. I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, pausing wherever I need to.)
`Today’s gospel really shows Jesus as a realist. Whilst Jesus affirmed the belief of His disciple in Him He also told them that (in spite of their belief), the hour was coming when they would desert him. Here is perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Jesus. He knows our weakness; he knows our failure; he knows that we would let him down in the moment of his direst need; and yet he still loves us; and what is even more wonderful–he still trusts us with His plans. He knew men at their worst and still loved and trusted them. It is quite possible for a man to forgive someone and, at the same time, to make it clear that he is never prepared to trust that person again. But Jesus said: “I know that in your weakness you will desert me; nevertheless I know that you will still be conquerors.” Never in all the world were forgiveness and trust so combined. What a lesson is there! Jesus teaches us how to forgive, and how to trust the man who was guilty of failure. There are four things about Jesus which this passage makes very clear.
There is the loneliness of Jesus. He was to be left alone by men. And yet he was never alone, because he still had God. No man ever stands alone for the right; he always stands with God. No good man is ever completely forsaken, for he is never forsaken by God. This can also become our spiritual inheritance that we are not left alone by God the Father. We can enter into the same solitude of Jesus. There is the forgiveness of Jesus. Of that we have already thought. He knew that his friends would abandon him, yet at the moment he did not upbraid them, and afterwards he did not hold it against them. He loved men in all their weakness; saw them and loved them as they were. Love must be clear-sighted. If we idolize a person and think him faultless, we are doomed to disappointment. We must love people as they are, not as we would have them to be for us. This is another spiritual heirloom that is ours if we choose to accept it from the hands of the Lord in the Spirit.
There is also the sympathy of Jesus. One verse here at first sight seems out of place: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace.” The point is this–if Jesus had not foretold the weakness of the disciples, afterwards when they realized how they had failed him, they might well have been driven to utter and absolute despair. It is as if he said: “I know what’s going to happen; you must not think that your disloyalty came as a shock to me; I knew it was coming; and it does not make any difference to my love. When you think about it afterwards, don’t despair.” Here is divine pity and divine forgiveness. Jesus was thinking, not of how men’s sin would hurt him, but of how it would hurt them. Sometimes it would make all the difference if we thought, not of how much someone has
hurt us, but of how much the fact that they hurt us has driven them to regret and the sorrow of an aching heart. Finally there is the gift of Jesus–courage and conquest. Very soon something was going to be unanswerably proved to the disciples. They were going to see that the world could do its worst to Jesus and still not defeat him. And he says: “The victory which I will win can be your victory too. The world did its worst to me, and I emerged victorious. Life can do its worst to you, and you too can emerge victorious. You too can possess the courage and the conquest of the Cross.”1
Is this the spiritual inheritance that we desire for ourselves, from Jesus? Or do we want Him to change our circumstances for our welfare? This is actually becoming very shortsighted. We will never really be happy this way – man must live for others, only then can we be truly happy! Let us pray that this singular grace of being other-centered comes upon us this Pentecost. Indeed Christ is Risen and ascended! Truly He is Risen!
Action: Today I will gaze upon my suffering with the help of the prayers of Christ for me (I journal: What phrase touched me today? What is Jesus inviting me to live today? I ask for a specific grace for today.)
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