Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a)
Cape Bojador on the western coast of Saharan Africa is so treacherous a sea passage that for years it served as the southern boundary for European sailors. Until the fifteenth century sea expeditions in the Atlantic always maintained sight of land lest the terrors of the ocean engulf them. But at Cape Bojador, the shallow depths and high winds always led to shipwreck. Then in 1434 a Portuguese sailor, using data obtained from different physical measurements, charted a course beyond sight of the coast that led to a successful passage. In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples that he likewise is charting a new passage around similarly troubled waters.
Jesus tells his disciples that he is leaving them to go to the Father. On the journey he will face all the power and fury that evil incarnate can muster. But, he says, he will overcome these obstacles and return to fetch his disciples. They then will be empowered to overcome evil temptations.
We, also Jesus’ disciples, are heirs to the graces that overcome evil. For some the challenge is maintaining faith in Jesus in a world so taken up with the wonders of technology. His wisdom does not glitter like instantaneous communication around the world, but its following has an infinitely richer reward. For others the evil that lurks is accepting aging with tranquility. To experience the loss of memory and mobility is trying but possible if we entrust ourselves to the Lord. The process culminates in the surrender of death where one experiences the everlasting gentleness of divine love.