Acts 14:19-28 / John 14:27-31
Jesus calms his disciples: “Do not be troubled or afraid.”
London was bombed mercilessly during World War II. One night a man in his 80s was standing outside St. Andrew’s Church. The church was located on the edge of London and overlooked the city. As the old man look down on the fire and smoke rising from the city, he began to cry. “Is there no hope at all?” he sobbed. Just then a gust of wind cleared the smoke long enough for the old man to see the cross atop the dome of St. Paul’s. The instant he saw it, he felt a surge of hope soar through his body. He stopped being “troubled and afraid.”
For he suddenly realized that there was a power greater than evil at work in the world.
Do we ever become discouraged by all the evil at work in the world? “I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.” John 14:29
One of the factors that draw people to a religion is that it gives them this sense of peace. They will speak of experiences like being troubled and in distress and then something mysterious happens. For whatever reason, they will just be drawn to a church, and there they will feel a sense of peace and calmness.
Or they may hear a hymn and the tune or the words just resonate in them. Or they may look at the crucifix or a holy picture or statue and they will feel that God is with them and they experience a sense of security. Say it anyway we want, the experience is similar as well as familiar - the experience of peace.
These experiences only go to show that Jesus continues to give us peace, especially in our troubled lives and in our troubled world.
It is only with this peace that Jesus gives that will enable us to persevere in our faith and empower us to face the many hardships of life.
At every Eucharist, Jesus gives us His peace when He says: I leave you peace; my peace I give you. Let us continue to trust in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and may we not be troubled and afraid of the difficulties of life.****
Tuesday of 5th Week of Easter - Liturgy
THE PEACE OF CHRIST
In carrying out his mission of proclaiming the Gospel, Paul and Barnabas with him, is persecuted, stoned, driven from one place to another. He doesn’t give up; he continues founding local communities and giving them a basic structure of leadership, so that they can function on their own. He has even the courage to “put fresh hearts into the disciples” and to acknowledge that God has accomplished great things in them. Likewise, before his passion and death, Christ speaks of peace and encourages the apostles not to be troubled or afraid. Nothing will keep him from carrying out his mission of love. No one can rob us of our interior peace, serenity and freedom if we are united with God in love.
-Lord, as you assured us: do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid, LHM
-Lord, as you promised us: peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you, CHM
-Lord, as we believe in your words: If you loved me, you would rejoice, LHM
Lord our God, almighty Father, you have absolute power over the world, and yet you respect the freedom of people, even of those who persecute your faithful. Make us realize that our faith does not protect us against the evil which people bring upon one another, but that you want us to build according to your plan a kingdom of justice, love and peace. Help our faith to stand the test when our meagre efforts fail. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord.
Hope and peace emerge as significant themes in today’s readings. Paul and Barnabas come to the end of their initial journey. There had been moments of joy, but adversity also had dogged them along the way. Today Paul is stoned by the Jews and left for dead. But restored to health, he is able to complete his journey. It is in the midst of suffering that hope proves its mettle. It does not stand simply as a conviction that the ultimate goal will be reached. It means that in the midst of trial and severe human misgiving, there is the conviction that the future remains intact. We cannot separate hardship from the meaning of hope. Hope has major importance in the church today. The storm clouds of dissension, polarization, and misconduct weigh heavy. In addition, we look at those parts of the world, traditionally strong in the faith, where in our time belief is severely threatened and the future uncertain. It is hope that convinces us that the final word will be God’s. Peace has been cynically described as a “period of preparation between two wars.” In the biblical sense, however, peace is the restoration of primitive accord. Peace was lost when humanity rebelled against God. Pain and suffering became our common lot, as well as moral disorientation. There was a rupture in the relationship of God and the world. As Christ comes to his disciples in the upper room, he announces the reestablishment of peace between heaven and earth. In our new covenant in the Holy Spirit, our restoration is attained, not only with God but with our fellow human beings and the created world, which is also redeemed. He has made us one through the blood of the cross. “War, war—never again” is not simply an ardent wish. It is a Christian mandate. Peace is held in contempt in a world of strife and conflict. The Gospel states today that the evil prince of this world may make temporary gains, but only the Father who lives in Jesus, our hope and our peace, will triumph.
Points to Ponder
Hope rooted in the promise of Christ
Hope the virtue of difficult times
Peace, a story of reintegration
Blessed are the peacemakers
– That Christians who are persecuted may learn from Christ to pray for their persecutors and to forgive them, we pray:
– That through trials and adversity, we may grow as human persons and as Christians, we pray:
– That we may always retain our serenity and peace of heart in suffering and contradiction, because we know God is with us, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, loyal Father, your Son Jesus Christ, retained his inner freedom and peace at the moment of his passion and death, because he was faithful to his mission of love. Let him give us in this Eucharist the same loyalty and love, that the hardships of life may not trouble our hearts but keep us firmly anchored in you who are our God forever.
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, God of peace, through your Son Jesus Christ, you bring us peace, a kind of peace which the world cannot give and which no earthly power can take away. Let us live in union with you, that this peace of your Son may be with us always and that we may have the quiet strength to put fresh hearts in our brothers and sisters, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid, for peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.” This is the assurance Jesus gives us. We are in God’s hands. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit