The Church has ever proved indestructible. Her persecutors have failed to destroy her; in fact, it was during times of persecution that the Church grew more and more; while the persecutors themselves, and those whom the Church would destroy, are the very ones who came to nothing. . . .Again, errors have assailed her; but in fact, the greater the number of errors that have arisen, the more has the truth been made manifest. . . . Nor has the Church failed before the assaults of demons: for she is like a tower of refuge to all who fight against the Devil. - St. Thomas Aquinas: (1225 – 1274: was an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church)
Gospel Text: (JN 16:29-33)
The disciples said to Jesus,
"Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God."
Jesus answered them, "Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
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."
In 1999 I ran the Philadelphia marathon. While participating in this great event I noticed that some struggled, some walked, some shuffled, some ran slow, some ran fast. But while only one person was first, everyone was a winner. Running such a race, 26.2 miles, is a success for all the runners which includes benefits that far outweigh the difficult struggle they endured – strong lungs, strong heart, better overall health. The struggle was short, but the benefit is long.
It occurred to me that the race we all run for Christ has benefits that outweigh the struggles we endure in our daily lives – eternal life with Jesus. If we keep today’s Gospel lesson in mind, we know that we 'will have trouble', but are encouraged that He has 'conquered the world.'