Saturday, April 30, 2016

The peace of Christ

6th Sunday of Easter Year C 2016:
My peace I leave with you.  Not as the world gives, do I give it.  This reminds me a little bit of my friend Fr. Joe Gaughan.  I don’t know if everyone knows him, but he is the pastor over at Most Precious Blood parish here in Fort Wayne.  Fr. Joe is a great guy, and he is really funny.  One of his favorite jokes often happens during the sign of peace.  Instead of saying, peace be with you.  He will say, “Pax Romana.”  Now, Pax Romana existed around the time of Jesus.  It refers to a sort of mythical peaceful time during the Roman empire between the years of 27 BC and 180 AD.  The world was at peace.  But, a large reason that the world was at peace was because of the amazing strength of the Roman Empire and its military.  So, Roman Peace or Pax Romana was really a time of peace because it came with a threat of war.  If you didn’t go along with the Roman authority, they would wipe you out.
So, when Fr. Joe says pax romana, it always cracks me up.  That’s because pax romana is exactly the peace that the world can give: peace because of a threat of violence.  But, Jesus promises a different kind of peace.
So, what kind of peace does Jesus offer us.  He says: do not let your hearts be troubled.  I think this gives us a big insight into his kind of peace.  You see, his peace will live in our hearts.  The world might be able to deliver peace by threatening war.  But, Jesus offers a totally different kind of peace.  His peace is going to live in our hearts.  His peace is not simply taking care of external circumstances.  He is giving us a whole new kind of experience.
How would this play out in our daily lives?  I think all of us would like peace and prosperity in the external circumstances of our lives right?  We all want good jobs, we want security.  We all want happy families.  We want to live lives without stress, without difficulty, without problems.
Well, how is that going for all of you?  I can tell you that my life is not too peaceful right now.  As you probably know from reading the bulletin, the Sisters and the priest switched houses.  A special thanks to the many volunteers who helped out.  But, moving is anything but peaceful.  There is all the lifting, the sweating, the aching back I now I have.  There is having people make fun of me because I put too much stuff into these big bins.  Then there is the unpacking.  I have no idea where all my stuff is.  It’s going to take us weeks to unpack and get organized.  So, not much peace.
And there is lots of other stuff that causes us to lose peace.  Maybe tension at work, stress in your families, financial stress, maybe a scary medical issues.  It goes on and on.  I think the one constant in many of our lives is that our lives are full of difficult and stressful situations.  In other words, the Roman Peace, the pax romana really never happens.  There is always some stress some problem.
But, then look at the saints.  Even in dire circumstances, they seem joyful and full of faith, full of peace.  This is what the peace of Christ looks like.  No matter what the world might through at them, the saints are full of peace. 

The same can be true for us too.  Jesus says, do not let your hearts be troubled.  Pray for the advocate, the Holy Spirit.  If your heart is full with the Holy Spirit, you can have peace even in difficult times.  So, at this mass I’ll be praying for peace in my life as I’m unpacking all my boxes.  Pray for peace in your life.  No matter what you are facing, with Christ you can have peace.

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