“Take Courage, I have Conquered the World”

When we read through the Gospel accounts of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord, we are often left saying the words of the Centurion, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”  In fact, we are so moved by the accounts that we feel anyone who hears them will instantly convert.  Yet we know, all too well, that there are many who still do not believe.

This might seem disheartening at times, but it really shouldn’t surprise us.   Why?  Well, first, consider that those closest to Christ, His disciples, regard Mary Magdalene’s news of His Resurrection as “nonsense” (Luke 24:11) or hard to believe (Mk 16:11).  In fact, when two of the disciples meet Christ on the road to Emmaus, He has to explain to them that, yes, in fact, He is the Messiah foretold by the prophets (Lk 24:25-6).

The term “Doubting Thomas” is so entrenched in our everyday speech, that we forget the rest of the Apostles were hesitant to believe the Resurrection had happened until He appeared to them (Mk 16:14).  These were men who had heard almost every word and witnessed almost every action of Our Lord during His public ministry, and yet they were just as skeptical as everyone else that this man was truly the Son of God.

We can see ourselves in these men, cowering in a locked room for fear of the Sanhedrin, perhaps tempted to doubt the Truth of Christ.  These men would later preach to huge crowds, travel thousands of miles, and proclaim the Gospel with their last breath; but right after the Passion, they were scared and afraid to face the world.  Perhaps one or more of them even felt forsaken by Christ, who died and left them alone.  And, looking at my own life, I know that I have been in that locked room, too.

Hearing the world assault Catholic doctrine, distort the words of the Holy Father, and fight any and all attempts to save the unborn, it can be difficult to proclaim the Truth.  It is in these moments, when we feel alone and afraid, that the Devil likes to tempt us to forsake the Truth and become like the world.  It is in these moments, too, that we might feel forsaken by God, left to fight the good fight all by ourselves.

However, Christ continues to appear to us in the Blessed Sacrament to comfort and sustain us.  He unites us in His Church so that we need not fight against sin and evil alone.  He speaks to us through the Scriptures to remind us that “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33).