of Creighton University's Online Ministries
June 3rd, 2011
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
On that day you will not question me about anything. - John 16
The comforting words of Jesus in this gospel are so helpful to us these days. When he said those words to his disciples he must have known the anguish and struggle they would have to go through in order to be his disciples. He must have known that the cost of challenging the values of the world, as he did, would be severe. I like to think Jesus imagined the martyrs who would come after him - like the Martyrs of Uganda - who would need genuine encouragment that their suffering, even their deaths, were not in vain.
Not many of us will have to suffer much for our faith - at least at the hands of those who will take our life. Some people reading this, however, take great risks just to be followers of Jesus in their cultures. Some who are reading this, are speaking out against the injustices of their governement to such a degree that they face imprisonment. Some who are supported by this gospel today are making the choice to be a volunteer or missionary in a place where they will be genuine witnesses of the gospel. We must pray for them today and ask that our Lord's words of comfort reach them and give them joy, courage and peace.
Most of the rest of us live our everyday lives - facing struggles and conflicts - some of which are of our own choosing, but most of which are things out of our control. We live faithful lives, comforted by our Lord, when he reminds us that one day we will enjoy eternal life with him forever.
Two things can help us today. One is to take the time to ask ourselves to what degree we believe the promise Jesus makes us. Too often we walk around as people who don't look like we believe the "Good News" that we will live forever, if only we accept his love and share it with others. Secondly, we need to ask for the grace to believe the comforting words of Jesus more deeply each and every day. If our belief in and longing for eternal life with him and with one another grows in our hearts, then we will be transformed. Imagine how ordinary anxieties, worries and fears would simply melt away. And the big things we face - the loss of a loved one, financial challenges, and a chronic or critical illness would not propose the same sense of loss for us. So much of what troubles us would become a mere scarecrow.
And, if our sense of joy and courage lead to a deep inner peace - knowing and expecting eternal life - then we'd be a lot freer to love the Gospel in our every day life and to proclaim it to the world. We'd be less worried about our own "pocketbook issues" and be more on fire with being advocates for the poor and marginal. We'd probably threaten the status quo much more - for ourselves first and then for others. But, we'd know that "whatever you ask the Father in my name, I will give you."
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