Dear Followers of Jesus,
On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we listen to John 14:23-29. We are edging closer to the end of Easter that will culminate at Pentecost in two weeks. Next week, we celebrate the Ascension of Christ Jesus.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. This phrase of the gospel reminds us that following Jesus is not always easy. God’s love is countercultural. God’s love and commandments invite us deeper into union with God that does not always follow our human lives. Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit will give us all peace, a peace that the world cannot give. This peace is far reaching in the world and deep within our lives. This peace forms our conscience and penetrates hate, violence and pride.
Sometimes the peace the Holy Spirit offers us goes against our vision of life, our politics and even what we have learned. If we remain rooted in God through personal prayer, the Eucharist and the riches of our own baptism, a deep and abiding peace will flourish in our lives. We need a new reliance in this Easter season on the reality of God, our place in God’s life and a deeper understanding of our reliance on the Holy Spirit.
God invites us to live fearlessly. We should not be afraid, reluctant or bashful about living our faith in the world. We are given all we need to live in faith. Sometimes we forget that the Holy Spirit is present to us and that the Holy Spirit will be the force of comfort and strength we need to live out of our own needs, to live a life that is reflective and loving in our world.
Easter is a sheer gift to us. Yet, we hesitate to commit our lives even when we are sure of the Lord’s presence and his gifts of reconciliation, salvation and new life. We cannot let this gift of mercy and love be ignored by us. This gift must be taken to our hearts and shared in our daily lives. Love is what we are looking for in life. Peace comes to us when we are willing to offer such faith, hope and love to others. Peace is also not just an illusive gift from God. Peace comes to us when we believe that God is more powerful than our sin, our doubt and our grief. Peace is incredibly beautiful and shows within us when we finally move toward it. We all know people who exude the peace of Christ in our daily interactions. Perhaps we can imitate them.
Love, peace and mercy are all gifts to the first disciples and it is those gifts from God, from the resurrection of Christ, which formed the early Church. I wonder what will form the Church in the future if we do not find these gifts in our hectic lives? We worship on the shoulders of those who believed before us. Our gift to this next generation of believers will certainly reveal to our children and grandchildren what we take seriously and what we believe today.