Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter – Jn 16:29-33
Today’s Gospel gives the ending of the sixteenth chapter of John, and also the end of the part of the Last Supper discourse directed to the Apostles. The next chapter is sometimes called the “High Priestly Prayer,” since it is the longest prayer of Jesus in the Gospel, and is directed entirely to the Father. In these final words to His closest followers, Christ warns that they will be scattered and abandon Him, but that this should not be cause for despair. Indeed, Christ tells them in advance that this will happen so that “[they] might have peace in [Him].” He follows this up by saying, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” Today, we can consider, simply, how Christ has conquered the world, and what it means for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas says that Christ conquers the world in three ways: first, “by taking away the weapons it uses to attack us: these are its allurements.” Christ conquered the false honors of the world by His deep humility; He overcame the riches of this world through His life of poverty, and He overcame the lusts of the flesh through His suffering and death. We can think of Saint Ignatius and his meditation on the Two Standards: by poverty, Christ leads to insults and contempt, which lead to humility.
Second, Christ conquers the world by “casting out its ruler.” Through His death and resurrection, Christ broke the power of death and sin. The devil no longer has any claim over us.
Thirdly, “Christ overcame the world by converting the people of this world to Himself.” Christ has worked a miracle of grace by taking us sinners, and, through constant work and pruning, converting us into His beloved sons and daughters. Not only was that enmity cast aside, it was entirely forgotten as He enlisted us into His ranks.
When considered in this light, we can see that the world truly has been overcome. This doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems or difficulties: on the contrary, Christ Himself warns us of such things. The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Life and Ministry of Priests reminds us that “the Lord Jesus who said ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,’ did not by these words promise complete victory to his Church in this world” (PO, 22). We will have to suffer, but we are assured of final victory if we remain faithful to Him.
Today, we can ask ourselves: how well have we set ourselves under Christ’s standard? Have we allowed Christ to conquer us, to take possession of our hearts, our minds, and our lives? Have we allowed Christ to break the power of sin and death in us?Top of Form
Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Spouse and Temple of the Holy Spirit, for the grace to be assured that Christ has overcome the world.