Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14: 21-37)
What a powerful and instructive Scripture!
What might it have been like to be a disciple and hear Jesus say, “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father…”? We might be incredulous and wonder how we could possibly rejoice in his leaving us? We might think about all we had experienced with him and learned from him and wonder, “What will we do without you?” Yet Christ’s leaving them allowed him to be present throughout history, all the way to this very day.
His leaving is what allows him to be present to each of us through the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. A little later in this Gospel, Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Christ ascended into heaven so that he could send his Holy Spirit, and it is through the Holy Spirit that Christ is alive to us right now.
While Jesus troubled the disciples by explaining about his impending death, he also comforted them by promising the Holy Spirit who will “teach you all things and remind of everything I have said to you (Jn 14:26). He has promised that though he is leaving them, he will not leave them as orphans, but will come to them (Jn 14:18).
The Christian life is a continual interchange of love between God and those who belong to Jesus Christ. We belong to Jesus when we love him and keep his commands. Typically, we think of love as an emotion, but true love encompasses our entire being: mind, heart, will, and body. Let me explain.
You begin to keep his commands when you first believe that Father sent Jesus and that he is the Son of God. This insight into Jesus’ identity is seeded into your mind by the Holy Spirit.
Once you know who Jesus is as the Son of God and learn of his kindness and grace, you are drawn to him emotionally. You love him because he first loved you. Most people think that love is fulfilled at this point, but your love must continue forward.
Jesus then reveals his will to you. He does this through scripture, the sacraments and by the work of his Spirit within you.
As Jesus lived by the motive to do the will of the Father, so must you. Finally, you must put his teachings into action through the faculty of your body. Your love for him is finally fulfilled when you act on his commands and put his teachings into practice.
That’s how we build a channel for his love to fill us, to motivate us, to save us and to bring us home to his father.
Prayer of The Day
“My God and Father, I live in a world that is busy and filled with division and conflict. When I hear your promise of peace, I feel a great longing to experience it in my life. I believe that you are faithful and that if you promise something, you will give it. Help me remember, though, that it is your peace, not my idea of peace, that you give. Keep my eyes set on you, my ears open to your words, my heart open to your life within me. I hope in your providence that brings all things together for my good. I love you for your constant love, for your ongoing presence and care in my life.”
The peace that Jesus is telling his disciples about is a peace that comes from trusting the Father. As he faced his Passion, Jesus instructed, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” His example shows us that peace does not depend on everything going right in our lives, but rather it is rooted in trust in the Father’s goodness and his desire for our ultimate happiness. He wants us to experience peace in the midst of the trials of our lives by trusting him with ourselves and all that is dear to us.