Dear Followers of the Risen Christ,
In John 14:23-29, the gospel prepares us for the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost. Jesus tells his disciples that he will leave them and that he will eventually come back. Jesus prepares us for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will teach us everything. The Holy Spirit will remind us of everything we learned from Jesus.
Jesus also offers us again the primary gift of the Resurrection, an enduring and lasting peace. Peace is the first word proclaimed after he rose from the dead. Peace is revealed by the Holy Spirit and flows into our hearts and lives if we remain in him. Peace is a gift not yet realized in most human hearts and certainly not in our world. Our ancestors in faith, especially the mystics and saints, offer us stories time and again about how they struggled in life and yet maintained the gift of peace because they trusted in the power of God’s love and in the realization of Jesus’ dying and rising. We may not be saints, but our hearts are also restless. It is our life journey to be instruments of peace in the center of our suffering, our misfortunes, and even on our death beds. Peace is hard to come by, because we must grow into our hearts of faith and that growth takes us an entire lifetime.
Once again in the Easter season, Jesus also tells us to not let our hearts be troubled. He invites us not to be afraid. This is his message of peace once again. We struggle with faith because we think faith will change us, that God will tell us to live beyond our gifts, wants, and talents. Instead, God is invested in our lives as they are. God uses our gifts and talents for good. The difference is that we understand our lives are in him, for him, and because of him. This is a lifetime of peace. When we can surrender to such beauty and love of God, we become the followers God desires us to be, people who love even in fear, people who imagine even in our stubbornness, and people who believe even in our suffering.
This Easter season continues to offer us Jesus Christ in images of consolation and wonder. He is the giver of peace. He is the consolation of love even in fear. The Easter season reveals in his resurrection the power of God’s commitment to us. This commitment is in the depths of our baptism. We die to self and live in Christ. We are born again. Easter lives in the connection of our lives as Christians.
As we approach the Ascension of Jesus and then Pentecost, here are some questions to ask:
How is Jesus inviting you into a greater peace within your own life?
How is Jesus inviting you into a life of less fear, self-hatred, and violence?
How has the Easter season changed your perspective on Jesus Christ and your commitment to him and your commitment within the Church?
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…”
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor