PEACE, YES! TROUBLE, NO!
6th Sunday of Easter Year C
May 5, 2013
PEACE, YES! TROUBLE, NO!
A decade ago, I was deep in study once again, somewhere in the US East Coast. It was supposed to be a Catholic institution, but I soon found out that most students were not only not Catholic. Some were even anti-Catholic! One day, there was an imam who came to talk about his religion. Of course, he did talk about it, and in the process also talked against my religion, ever so subtly. I wouldn’t have minded that one, coming as it does from someone like him. But when a “Christian” deridingly asked me whether Catholics were Christians, I was definitely incensed.
I wasn’t in the mood for peace at that moment. I was seething … like I was on so many other occasions in my life when my ego was stepped on, hurt, abused, or otherwise put down.
It is hard to be at peace when being a Catholic nowadays is equated with so many unsavory terms … when being orthodox means you are the object of the derision of so many politically correct, but intolerant and noisy minorities who accuse us of intolerance. (Look who’s talking!).
But today, whether I like it or not, I will have to talk of the peace that comes from the Lord … the only one who really can give it honestly, sincerely, truly, and fully!
Why, you might ask? Because He himself suffered violence … against his person, against what he taught, against what he stood for and paid for dearly with his life!
This is the only convincing peace that can only be given by him who was made to suffer immensely for it … the peace that the world cannot give … No … not even the Romans with their proverbial pax Romana that really meant fear, control, and weaponries.
But the gift of peace from the Lord is associated with three other powerful concepts to consider: love, keeping the Lord’s words, and the coming of the Advocate.
Now that is reassuring. The peace that He gives is not the peace that the world gives. It is the peace that is proven by deeds, by love and by adhering to his words. More than anything, it is a peace that comes along with a more important gift – the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends in the Lord’s name.
Even now, I am often not entirely at peace. I am troubled when that cult founded in the Philippines, designed to destroy the Catholic Church … that cult whose apparent vision and mission and raison d’etre is nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else but to talk against us Catholics continues to attack us. But the worst is this … when fellow believers who claim to be catholics, too, take the podium and say nothing positive about the institutional Church, the Holy Father, or the official teachings of the Church, especially in the area of morals. Sometimes I am outraged.
But today, I am convicted. And I am sorry not to be at peace. For trouble is not what He has come to bring me and you, but peace. “Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
I would suggest we all claim this peace, this gift, this promise. He is the only One who can talk convincingly of peace. But in the meantime, there is one thing we can do – live on in His love, and adhere to His words, and accept the gift of the Advocate. Anything less than this will mean trouble for me and you.
Now, do you see why we are so troubled?