The disciples are beginning to have a better understanding that Jesus is who he says he is, that “he came from God.” Jesus does not rest on or savor this insight and affirmation, but shares with them how, they still do not fully comprehend. He predicts that each will leave him alone in his most desperate hour and they will do just that. When Jesus asks them to watch and pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane, they will instead fall asleep. When Jesus hears he will be sent again, sent to do the Father’s will by giving his life on the Cross for them, they again fall asleep. When the guards come to arrest Jesus, led by Judas, the disciples would flee. Peter will then betray him three times.
What is interesting is that just as Jesus shares with them, that even though they, his most intimate followers, his closest friends would betray him, he says: “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.”
These are words of comfort and hope for us today! No matter if we betray or are betrayed ourselves, we let others down or are let down, we see and experience the devastating effects of our fallen world and fallen human nature, from without and within; no matter what conflict, challenges, or tribulations rise up before us, we do not need to succumb to cynicism, hopelessness, and despair. What helps is having the humility to acknowledge where we have caused harm in any form and seek forgiveness and reconciliation as well as be understanding and willing to forgive.
We also need to remember that in those times when we feel misunderstood, betrayed, or are facing the unbearable in life, we are not alone! Jesus reveals to us the way to his Father because Jesus is the Way! Seeking affirmation from the culture or the world is not the way. Our priority instead ought to be to build our relationship with Jesus, who will lead us to the Father so as to experience the Love of the Holy Spirit! When we acknowledge the presence of Jesus in our lives and when we turn to him for help and support, there is joy, there is peace, and all things are possible.
Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness, and he will not be overcome by it, for he has conquered death, and overcome the world. We are an Alleluia people because through our participation in the life of Jesus the Christ we will overcome as well. As an Alleluia people, we are not to be shaped by the culture and the world but are to instead shape it by authentically living the Gospel, by being and sharing the light, joy, peace, and love of Christ in every aspect of our lives and interactions with one another.
Photo: Class of 2020, still as juniors, putting their love into action by creating and gathering surprise Mother’s Day gifts for JoAnn when they found out she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I am still touched by their kindness.