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Sixth Week of Easter

John 14:23-29

It was on the eve of His death that the words of today’s Gospel were spoken by Jesus to His Apostles. He knew what was going through their minds and wanted to prepare them for the future. They were not naïve and wanted to champion His cause but they could see the clouds of hostility gathering momentum.

They had seen the anger in eyes of the religious leaders. Groups, like the Pharisees and Herodians, who usually would have nothing to do with each other, were now joining forces to plot Jesus’ death. There was tension in the air and a feeling of uncertainty about the future. How were things going to work out? So this evening Jesus wanted to prepare them for the future.

He knew that, to His Apostles, His death would seem like the end, but He did not see it that way. 'Have no fear. My cause will win. Nothing, not even death will stop it. I am going away, but I will be back. I will die, but death will not finish Me. The reason for My believing this way is because the truth will always overcome.' This in effect was what He was saying to them. And we, too, must learn from Jesus.

We live in a world of rapid change and uncertainty. We wonder who is in control of our world and our destiny. The answer is God! With wars, crime increasing and the uncertain financial future, we wonder where is it all leading us? Has God deserted us? We can become cynical and defeatist about the future. Was this the attitude of Judas and the reason why he ended it all by taking his own life? If we love Christ, like the Apostles did, that is not how we are to think. We must believe that God is in control of His world and everything will turn out as He intends it.

On that evening everything that Jesus believed in and stood for seemed to be doomed. Now He had to rally the spirit of His Apostles. He told them He was going away, but He would be back. The fight was not over. The cause was not lost. “I have told you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.”

Believing in the future as Jesus did requires a great deal of patience. He would not despair of a great cause simply because it did not come to fulfilment in His lifetime. As His ministry progressed it became increasingly clear that He would not live to see success. But that did not matter. He was convinced that good will always triumph over evil and the truth will always prevail over deceit. Again this attitude of Jesus is what we must have.

We must believe in the future because it is in God’s hands. The things we want most will not happen suddenly. Giant oaks take years to grow; they are not like mushrooms. Probably we will never see the fulfilment of our highest hopes and dreams. Like Jesus we must believe in them, work for them, stand by them, and trust the vindication of our faith to the future.

I think the reason why the world is making slow progress in championing good causes is because there is little belief in God. Take Him out of the picture and the only thing that is left is a vast, indifferent universe that cares nothing for you, for me, or any of our hopes and dreams. This was not so with Jesus. “My word is not My own: it is the word of the One who sent Me.” Jesus believed that He was working in cooperation with His Father. He could give everything He had because He knew that all His efforts had Divine support. The work which He had started, even though He left it unfinished, would be carried forward by God Himself.

That’s the kind of faith that we must have. What a difference it will make if we can see ourselves, and those who have gone before us and those who will come after us, as co-workers with God. Jesus believed that about Himself, His friends and His cause. For this reason He could face the Cross with the firm conviction that death was not defeat. He would be back. The cause was not lost. His work would continue because it was God’s work.

Holy Spirit, inspire us to understand how we must live our lives, doing the best we can to follow the commandments as Jesus did, and leaving the outcome of the future to our Heavenly Father.

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