Jn 16:29-33 Christ’s Story
The disciples said to Jesus, “We believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. 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.”
The emergency line rang early in the morning on Wednesday. I could barely understand what was being said to me. It was the voice of a woman, but in between cries and sighs, she was telling me that her father was passing away. She wanted him to receive the anointing of the sick. I got out of my bed and rushed to get there. What I saw was absolutely beautiful.
His bedroom was crowded with people; most of them young. They were all waiting for me. They had gathered inside his room, around his bed. I counted six young people, three older women, and an older gentleman. Each of them were holding or touching something: a hand, an arm, the forehead, his side, his leg. They were all crying. He had come to this country with very little and, by the looks of his home, he was leaving behind very little. But then I remembered the cars that were parked outside the home: a BMW, a Mercedes and a Lexus.
I asked them who they were. “I’m his wife”, said one. “I’m his mother.” “I’m his sister.” Then the six young people around his bed said they were his children. They were all a mess. Like the phone call this morning, they could barely talk. They were busy wiping their eyes, blowing their nose, looking away. I told them, “You really love your father.” They all nodded in agreement. They told me that he had worked like an animal all his life and when he was finally able to retire, cancer struck. They said that they grew up with very little, but had it all. While other kids had a pool in the back of their home, he would take the hose and water them down. When they went to school, they didn’t have the fancy stuff that most had but they always had pens, paper and dictionary in hand. The other kids, who had it all, would always borrow a pen or a piece of paper from them. It was funny. They dressed well but didn’t have any school supplies. We thought they were the poor kids. Only later did they realize what they had and what most others did not have: a family; a father that loved them and would die for them.
And die he did. He gave his life for them.
He had raised his children well. They were proud of their dad. Without him they would never have been the very successful people they are today. They understand that; they always did. And they had promised him that they would repeat it in their lives as well. He loved them to death. He gave them the best. He got them through life as far as he could with his knuckles and knees. He taught them what really mattered: God, family and love. He never asked for anything in return except that they give their best to God and that they love one another.
This story is repeated often, but not often enough. Our story can be the story of His story which is The Only Story; the story that goes like this: Beaten and rejected, He conquered the world through love.
The Lord told his disciples, “In the world you will have trouble.” Yes. How true it is! We all know this is true. No proof is required for I will feel the weight of the world upon my shoulders; I will feel the incredible burden of responsibility upon my very knees; I know I am surrounded by troubles. My victories are bittersweet. Tears are shed far too often. My fears and doubts must be confronted; sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once. I must erase pain of recent memories. I must drive Loneliness out of my life. But if I can persevere in love, then I shall conquer it all. Love conquers all things because God is love and God conquers all things, even death itself.
I can do this. I can do this too because I was made to love and I can drive love through all things.
Take courage. I have told you this so that you might have peace in Him.