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. (John 16:33)
The disciples are about to be scattered and Jesus is preparing them for this in today’s Gospel (John 16:29-33). Ever since the Ascension, the disciples of Jesus have been spread all over the world. The promise of Jesus assures us that we are never left abandoned. In his resurrection he has proved that he has overcome all the powers of the world, and that this is true for us.
This week we prepare to celebrate the feast of an Oblate missionary, Blessed Joseph Gerard, who had been sent to Southern Africa at the age of 24. Despite his dedication and hard work, after eight years he had nothing to show for his labors. Not a single Zulu person was converted to Jesus Christ. In the spirit of the confidence of today’s Gospel, Eugene wrote to him in 1860:
After so many years not a single conversion; it is awful!
You must not lose heart because of it. The time will come when the merciful grace of God will produce a sort of explosion and your African Church will be formed. You ought perhaps to penetrate deeper inland among other tribes in order to bring this about. (4 September 1860)
Today St Eugene continues to say to us: “Do not lose heart!”
In the spirit of the confidence of today’s Gospel, let us not lose heart – let us have courage because the Risen Savior has overcome the world, and that is true for us.