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Peace in Our Time
Sixth Sunday of Easter
John 14: 23–29
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for these consoling verses of Scripture. Penetrate my mind and heart as I read and meditate on these words today.
- We Will Dwell with You: The way of a Christian can be difficult—full of doubt, questions, sacrifice, and persecution. But our struggle to keep the word of God is never fought alone. Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit dwell in a soul that keeps the Father’s commandments. This indwelling of the Trinity brings with it unique and beautiful gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. It’s a spiritual reality that is not as perceptible as human accompaniment, but it is infinitely more powerful. St. Teresa of Avila offers this encouragement: “I only beg you to test it (by interior recollection), even at the cost of a little trouble. I assure you…you will find him within you.”
- The Peace of Christ: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Our Lord promises us peace, but not the world’s version. This heavenly peace can calm a soul in the midst of suffering or grief, not necessarily by taking away the emotional pain but by bringing an awareness to the suffering soul that Christ is present. To feel his closeness, his love and affection for us, his compassion for our sorrow and pain, is a balm no human remedy can match. Our Lord, in his parting words, could have offered any number of blessings, but he showered his disciples with peace and urged them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” When we are worried or anxious, the peace of Christ is available to us for the asking as beloved sons and daughters of the Father.
- Please Believe: These lines of Scripture contain some of the most beautiful promises Our Lord made to his disciples (and to us). He tells us the Trinity dwells in obedient souls. Christ wants to leave his peace with us. The Holy Spirit has come as an advocate, teacher, and reminder of all Christ has taught. Jesus chose this moment to share so much about the coming of the Holy Spirit with the disciples for one reason: so that they would believe. Jesus became incarnate, lived anonymously in Nazareth, preached for three years, suffered, died, and rose from the dead for our redemption—he wants that much for us to believe in him. Lord, increase my faith!
Conversation with Christ: Lord, it is the Easter season and we are a resurrection people! Help me to live very deeply the peace you showered on your disciples. I believe that the Trinity dwells within me and by your power and might, I can live life to the fullest. “Man fully alive is the glory of God” (St. Irenaeus).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will confidently ask for your peace every time my emotions get the best of me.
For Further Reflection: “In the biblical tradition, peace is a very rich concept. It implies much more than simply an absence of war and strife. It implies more than simply a passing feeling of contentment, relaxation, and order. It implies the fullness of joy and life that can only be attained and experienced in a climate of justice, order, truth, respect, and goodwill. Saying ‘peace’ in biblical language is akin to what we moderns might imply by the phrase “peace and prosperity.” By wishing this for those around us [during Mass], and asking Jesus to give it to us, we are invoking our hope and faith in God who is the source and sustainer of all good things, material and spiritual” (from What Does It Mean To Exchange The Peace Of Christ At Mass?).
Written by Maribeth Harper.