FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF EASTER
THEME: THE PEACE FROM GOD
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
HOMILY: John 14:27-31
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.”
As Jesus bids farewell to his disciples, He is well aware of their fear and insecurity. So, He has to give them assurance and encouragement. One way of doing this is by imparting to them the gift of peace.
The word ‘peace!’ is ‘shalom’ in Hebrew. It is the usual Jewish greeting and farewell. In His post-resurrection appearances, Jesus used this in greeting His disciples. In its original sense, it means not simply the absence of conflict or violence, but something much more positive, much deeper. It connotes complete harmony within oneself, wholeness of being in mind and body that brings true happiness and freedom. This is the peace that Jesus imparts as a gift to all His followers.
It is not the peace that the world knows. It is something internal, not external. It comes from an inner sense of security – from the assurance of God’s abiding presence, that He will not renege on His promises, that He will not forsake and abandon us no matter what happens – even in the face of persecutions, sufferings and turmoil. The Lord knows so well that this is the peace, ‘shalom’, that His disciples direly need as they prepare for the scandal of the cross.
The world, ever since has not fully achieved this peace. Instead, wars and conflicts continue to occur and escalate in every part of the world. This clearly illustrates the folly of man. The peace that Jesus brings has become elusive more than ever. This is not because this peace is unattainable, but because people cannot and do not want to accept it.
The reason for this is the fact that the peace that Jesus brings is the fruit of obedience to God’s precepts and commands. And many people reject these. This peace is the fruit of love, and people persist in their selfishness and greed. This peace comes from union with God, and people continue to live in sinful behavior and lifestyle that separate them from God and from one another.
The saints are familiar with this peace. Despite all the troubles, difficulties and even persecutions they encounter, they still maintain their peace and joy. They are not affected by outside factors, for, indeed, peace is internal. As what St. Francis of Assisi prayed: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Peace does not depend on others. It has to begin with the individual person. Each one has to stand up for what is good and right, even if it means standing alone. The key to peace is God – and we become instruments of peace when we take the side of God, regardless of what other people think about us or do to us.
In his The Paradoxical Commandments, Dr. Kent M. Keith, wrote:
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
(N.B. This is the original version as written in 1968. It was popularly attributed to St. Teresa of Kolkata because it was sign posted on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Kolkata. There is no mention of the author’s name, with two verses missing, reformatted to look like a poem and entitled “Anyway”.)
During the Mass, just before receiving Holy Communion, we exchange the sign of peace with one another. This should not just be an ordinary greeting. It should rather be a wish and a prayer for each one that we may always live in union with God. Thus, may we become instruments for the spread and reign Jesus’ true and lasting peace in the world.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches