The Peace that Jesus Gives

[Homily: 5.1.18]

 

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  Not as the world gives it do I give it to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid: (Jn 14:27)

Peace. Jesus’ peace. Not as in the graveyard, where peace is of those who are dead. Not as in the balance of military power, where peace is the ability of the threatened to meet the force of the aggressor. Not as in conquest, where peace is wrought by the dominance of the conqueror and the submission of the vanquished.

“My peace I leave you,” Jesus says. His peace is the peace of the Resurrection, won as a result of all that led to the Resurrection. Peace, because Jesus obeyed the Father’s will in his compassion for humanity. He obeyed the Father in preaching the Kingdom of God, incurring the wrath of those who cared more about rules, rituals and conformity to religious practices than about God’s compassion. He obeyed the Father in teaching people to love one another, when people were prone to be insensitive, wrapped in on themselves and selfish. He obeyed the Father in forming a community of disciples, who saw in Jesus’ preaching more substance and truth than given them by the Scribes and the Pharisees. He obeyed the Father in standing up for the Kingdom of God against its enemies, who were scandalized by Jesus’ teachings and worried about its effects on the established Jewish community. He obeyed, faithful to the Father’s will, no matter the consequences. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26: 39). He was “obedient unto death,” till he was lifted up on the Cross (cf. Phil 2.8). Having died on the Cross, the Father raised him up, lifted him up in the Resurrection, glorifying his Son in his obedience. “God exalted him to the highest places and gave him the name that is above every name” (Phil 2:9-10).

It is in this post-Resurrection peace that Jesus says: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify him in himself” (Jn 13:31). The Son of Man, Jesus, is glorified for his obedience; the Father is glorfied in his Son’s obedience.

In this peace, Jesus says: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27b). Peace is the absence of trouble and the absence of fear. “Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come and make our dwelling with him.” (Jn 14:23) What is his word? His word is: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another” (Jn 13:24). So: whoever loves Jesus and keeps his commandment to love one another, him will the Father love, “and we will come and make our dwelling with him.” That is a startling revelation!  John refers to the Trinity not only “in the beginning” when God is with the Word and the Word with God (Jn 1:1), and not only in salvation history where “the Word is made flesh” to break the darkness of humankind and to give those who accept the Word the right to be children of God (cf. Jn 1:1-14), but dwelling with and within us individually, working out our salvation, making sure we live and love on the right path, making sure we grow in our dedication to the Kingdom of God, giving us the light to be sensitive to its promptings in ciphers of consolation and peace which we interpret through discernment.

Jesus’ peace is the product of the Resurrection, the product of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity, the product of our obedience to the Son obeying the Father and sending us the Spirit to teach us to love.

In peace, he teaches us: love one another. Love one another in your workplaces, in your schools, in your public life, and especially in your homes. Love one another, Pope Francis says, in three words you ought never tire of saying, “Please,” “thank you,” and “sorry” (Amoris Laetitia, 133). Love one another in never taking the goodness of the other for granted, in acknowledging the sacrifice and goodness of the other, in being willing to say Sorry for wrongs. Love one another also in being willing to forgive. Love, however, not only in words, but in deeds. Love in your acts of kindness, even when you feel mean, and in your acts of patience, even when you are in a hurry. Love in your listening, in your wasting time with the other, in your presence to one another, in your willing to do for the other what you may not necessarily want to do. Realize that love in your homes, in the ability to talk to one another, to celebrate one another, to acknowledge, support, and care for each other, needs to be cultivated, worked at, practised and improved. Love in and beyond a kiss, a caress, an embrace, an ecstatic act of sexual union, where divinity is manifested in your most intimate human loving, and the most profound humanity is manifested in your obedience to God’s command, “Love one another.” For God is love. In obeying God’s commandment to love, there is peace – not as the world gives it but as God gives it.

 

 

 

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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