Jesus answered them, “You say that you believe! The hour is coming, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world, but courage! I have overcome the world” (John 16: 31-33).
The passage from the Gospel is very encouraging. It is a passage of hope. We should not be disheartened when things become painful, challenging or disappointing.
Jesus calls us to accept what is to come. There will be trouble in the world. There will be situations of war and injustice; occasions of sin and death; and times of personal and global turmoil.
In the midst of these, the Lord tells us to be courageous, because He has “overcome the world.” In other words, He is far stronger and mightier than all the world’s travails. This is the very source of His confidence: the Father who does not abandon Him. He assures us that the source of our peace is not external, but in Him who has already claimed victory.
We are therefore encouraged. We are not to lose hope. We are not to lose heart. We are to keep fighting believing that the last say in our lives is not anymore death, but life.
This is why St. Ignatius prays for a generous heart. A heart that gives, but does not count the cost; fights, but does not heed the wounds; toils, but does not seek for rest (Prayer for Generosity).
Thus, the Lord gives us a reason not to give up in our mission to “proclaim the Good News to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He trusts that we can do it. He allows us to fight, but He does not leave us. He allows us to face our fears and to seek for solutions to our problems, but He sits by our side. He empowers us to struggle with our life issues, but He provides us with the spirit and strength to battle through.
In this week of the Ascension, we are asked to believe in Jesus’ words, “I will be with you till the end of time” (Matthew 28:20).