TAKE COURAGE

June 2, 2022 – Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/060222.cfm)

In the past few days, we have been following the prayers of Jesus just before his passion and death. Most of these prayers of Jesus speak of oneness and of friendship. Jesus speaks about these because he has most probably felt already the suffering that he will undergo. There will be great feelings of fear, confusion, of loneliness and abandonment.

In this prayer of Jesus, he expresses his gratitude to the Father for giving him the gift of friendship with his disciples. This friendship gives comfort to Jesus. Yet, he also feels that his friends are afraid, confused and insecure. Thus, Jesus prays that his friends may be one with him, may never leave him but will accompany him in his suffering.

However, these friends of Jesus turned out to be overwhelmed by their fear and insecurities. They fled and hid themselves for fear of being persecuted. After all, they left Jesus alone.

But this attitude of the disciples never made Jesus to surrender on them. Jesus remains grateful to the Father because he saw something beyond the imperfection and unfaithfulness of his friends.

Indeed, Jesus trusts the wisdom of the Father for giving him these kinds of friends. These friends are also the very sign of the Father’s love to him. Beyond the unfaithfulness and fear of the disciples are the image and the presence of God in them.

The disciples realized this after the resurrection of Jesus. This event gradually changed them completely. Indeed, it was in this way that they have become one with Jesus. And true indeed, they were the Father’s gift to Jesus because each of Jesus’ friends became his witnesses to all the nations.

This is the experience of Paul, who was a true witness of Jesus, as described to us in the Acts of the Apostles. What sustained Paul from those accusations and persecutions was his friendship with the Lord and the friendship he developed with the other believers of Jesus. This is how the Lord himself assured Paul and told him, “Take courage.” The Lord stood by him. This is friendship!

We, too, are the Father’s gift to Jesus. As gifts, we are very precious to Jesus because we are his friends. We may also find ourselves weak, fearful and insecure like the disciples, but remember, Jesus will never surrender on us because he sees something beyond our weaknesses and fears. Jesus sees himself in us!

As Jesus wishes that we may be one with him to see his glory, we are invited to remain firm in our faith and conviction as Christians. But, when we find ourselves going away from Jesus, let us come to him again, to come closer to him. It is only in being with him that we too shall find our true peace and comfort.

Today, let us be grateful of the friendship we have with Jesus and of the friendship we have developed with other people. Like Jesus, we may also see the person of Jesus in our friends, to see Jesus beyond the imperfection and weaknesses of our friends. Take courage, then, because we have friends. Kabay pa.

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