"In the world you shall have tribulation," says our Lord. "But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Welcome back to another semester of college. In the surging crowds on campus and the snarling traffic around town, one can quickly come to recognize that familiar feeling of being just another in a crowd of many. For some of you, you've already become acquainted with the dreadful feeling of being behind this semester. ... And it's only day two.
But we can all take comfort in our Lord's assurance of happiness. "Be of good cheer," he instructs us; in other words, "be happy." Seriously.
The world promises tribulation. It promises social pitfalls and awkward roommate situations. It promises fast-travelling, airborn illness in college dorms and professors who sometimes seem to delight in their students' inability to take notes fast enough.
The world promises contempt to those who try do the right thing. It promises heartaches from unrequited love and headaches from inconsiderate neighbors who host late nights in your apartment complex... on Monday nights.
The world promises to belittle your efforts at holiness --- to always remind you that you're not being "good enough." It promises to always try to convince you that you're nothing more than a hypocrite. The world will lie to you.
Christ, however, reminds you that he has overcome the world. He has called it out for the farce that it is and shined a beaming light on it's claims to be able to deliver lasting happiness.
Christ urges you and me to be of good cheer. He urges us to find happiness not in the things of this world -- in the glitz and glamour of fame, fortune and excesses -- but true and lasting happiness; the type of happiness that can only be found in a devotion to justice, in acts of selfless service, and in the knowledge of revealed Truth.
Christ invites us to walk with him in fellowship and discipleship. In so doing, we are invited to amend our lives and turn towards him. "In the world," he reminds us, "you will have tribulation."
But do not despair... for there is hope. And faith. And love.
"Be of good cheer." Fellowship with those who share your faith. Learn that true happiness is synonymous with holiness. Live out your faith. Love your Church. Serve your God.
It begins now. Today.
CCM is here to help you along the way. Please join us tonight for this semester's first installment of Good Cheer. We start at 7pm, upstairs in Bouré on the Square. All are welcome.