Peace Of Christ

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily May 26, 2019

“During this Easter season we are invited to reflect ever more personally upon the words of Christ particularly that were shared at the last supper.  In John’s Gospel at the Last Supper Jesus really pours out his heart. He really talks to the disciples and to all of us about his mission and about what he was about and why he was going to die, but he would rise and then share with us the gift of life, the gift of eternal life and so our Gospel today is part of that Last Supper discourse and it’s one in which Jesus first of all promises that if we love him, he and the Father will come and dwell within us, that abiding presence of God within our own lives that we truly have that presence of the Lord within our own bodies within our own Spirit and that is a beautiful promise that is given there, that abiding presence of God with us.  What a great dignity we have. What a great mission we have. What a great future we have because of that intimate relationship to which we are called with the Father and the Son dwelling within us through the power of the Holy Spirit, that Holy Spirit that was poured forth into our hearts in baptism, that Holy Spirit in which we were confirmed in Confirmation, that Holy Spirit that continually abides with us, that that is the promise of Jesus that we truly abide with God and God abides with us and that’s the reason that we are called into an ever deeper intimacy with each of the persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and then Jesus goes on and he makes a great promise.  He says, ‘My peace is what I will give to you.’ And the very first words after the resurrection when Jesus appears to the disciples he says, ‘Peace be with you’ but he says, ‘but not as the world gives peace do I give peace.’ And that’s an interesting statement. It may be that the world’s idea of peace is a cessation of hostilities as long as we’re not throwing bombs or rockets at each other, then we must be at peace. Well Jesus said, ‘No, the peace that he gives is something different.’ The peace that he gives is something that enters deep into our minds and our hearts and it’s a much more positive understanding of who we are and what we are about. That peace that Jesus gives is one that is brought about by the Holy Spirit, that spirit of God that enables us to know that all will work out well, that peace that invites us to a deep trust in God’s providence and his care and Jesus goes on and he says, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled.’  Don’t worry, don’t be anxious. Anxiety though is one of the real problems that many of us confront within our lives. We’re anxious about many things. Anxiety is one of the pervasive issues of our culture and our society, but Jesus says, ‘Do not be anxious.’ Have faith in Him. Have faith in His providence. Do not be anxious because all things can work together for those who trust in God and even researchers will say that 90% of the stuff we’re anxious about never takes place. It never happens, so we’re anxious for totally wrong reasons and most of the other 10% we have no control over and so it’s not really worth getting anxious about because the Lord wants us to live with a sense of peace that he’s truly with us even in the most challenging times in our life that we can live with that sense of peace that he brings to our minds and to our hearts. That’s the promise that Jesus gives us. It means entering more deeply into a relationship of trust.  Not trust that everything is going to go perfectly, not a trust that says oh there’s never going to be a problem, there’s never going to be difficulties, but that trust that says that God is with us through it all that God brings us His peace. He ensures that it will all work out ultimately not just for God’s good, but for all of our good and so we are invited to enter into more deeply into that peace of Christ Jesus. At every Eucharist that we celebrate we turn to those around us and we say, ‘Peace of Christ be with you.’ And by the way you don’t just say, ‘Peace be with you.’ That’s inadequate. It’s ‘Peace of Christ be with you.’ And that’s not just a greeting, that’s a prayer. It’s a prayer that Christ’s peace may truly be with those around us with members of our families, with members of this parish community, with all those with whom we share this human journey that the peace of Christ may truly be within our lives and within our hearts, that peace of Christ that brings about a great transformation that peace of Christ that brings about eternal joy and so as we draw closer to the end of this Easter season, we are invited to reflect upon God’s promise to us that abiding presence in the Eucharist that abiding presence within our own hearts and minds, that abiding presence that dispels anxiety and worries that abiding presence that brings us His peace.  Peace of Christ be with you.”