Promises, Paraclete and Peace
Do we have ‘ANY’ of these OR do we have ‘ALL’ of them?
Are they…’WHAT’ we think they are?
Abandonment! A boy, at the age of six,
was PUT on a city bus by his older brother and
was told to stay on until the end of the line.
Across the street from the end of the line was his house.
‘This’ was quite a trauma,…
being left alone on this huge bus…with all these strange people
and a driver whom HE didn’t know.
He did ask the driver if the bus was going to Thirty-Third Street
and was that Thirty-third street in Baltimore…and
was there a big white house across the street?
No amount of assurance was satisfying.
The Divine Bus Driver is telling us…HIS passengers in the Gospel today,
that ‘WE’ will NOT be left alone,
but actually…we will be a PART of the “Big White House”
the dwelling place of God if we BELIEVE.
Believing DOES invite questions,
but we are invited to trust what the Driver says.
We ‘DO’ have worries and fear which are appropriate
for us as fragile “bus-Riders”.
We are comforted..BY knowing there are other “riders”
who for centuries…have ridden with their fears and yet in faith.
The “world” needs certainty and demands the security of knowing.
Human relationships of love go leaping into future “bus-rides” together.
This ‘leaping’ is how we fulfill HIS request that we love him by keeping his Word.
His Word is not a command or law, but an invitation.
An invitation to be aware and
accepting of his love for us during
HIS life, death, and resurrection,
and ‘NOW’ ‘in’ HIS sending of the Holy Spirit.
Consider these five ‘PROMISES’…to EACH one of us
from the seven verses in today’s Gospel of John:
LOVE: My Father will love you
HOME: We shall come to you and make our home with you
SPIRIT: My Father will send you the Holy Spirit
UNDERSTANDING: The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
PEACE: Peace is my gift to you, a peace the world cannot give.
A question each of needs to ask ourselves:
‘DO THESE PROMISES CHANGE MY WORLD?’
God loves us in Christ, but this love does not protect us
from experiencing worries and fears.
That love does not protect us from bumping our noses, stubbing our toes, breakings of hearts, nor losing our way.
His love does not protect us from OUR being ‘human’,
but encourages us to get ‘ON’ the bus,
stay on the bus until we get to the end of the line
where our home is right across, WELL, over there- Heaven.
Heaven is being in the presence of God.
Nothing else matters.
“If you love Me, keep my commandments, says the Lord,
and I will ‘ask’ the Father…and…He will send you ‘ANOTHER’ Paraclete
to abide with you forever. Alleluia.”
NOW, THAT…IS A PROMISE.
As for the paraclete:
John tells us…that…Jesus promises…“ANOTHER”
that is, a ‘SECOND’ Paraclete.
Jesus himself is the first Paraclete,
helper, mediator, advocate.
A few verses later in John, the Paraclete is identified with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus tells us that he will no longer walk among us as our Paraclete
but he promises another Paraclete.
The Paraclete will be a gift.
The Paraclete will also bring gifts.
In two more weeks
we reach one of the most important events in our lives, Pentecost.
Jesus continues to say:
“This much have I told you while I was still with you; the Paraclete,
the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My name,
will instruct you in everything, and remind you of all that I told you”
Today, Jesus promises us gifts.
The gifts are given NOT because we are worthy or holy.
They are given because Jesus loves us and because we need the gifts
in order to cope with the challenges which, confront us in life.
The Eucharist TOO, is given today as a gift totally free.
In our prayer during the liturgy, we admit:
“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you…”
‘BUT’ We confidently come to the altar
because we know,…we feel,…with every fiber of our Catholic bodies
that without the Eucharist
we can live ‘neither’ happily…‘NOR’…AT PEACE.
Lacking the Eucharist, we lack the divine gift of God’s presence.
We need the Holy Spirit for Jesus to become ‘REAL’ in our lives.
We receive the Spirit ‘OR’ stay locked by fear in our upper room.
We receive the Spirit ‘OR’ see our life’s work amount to nothing,
Even though the disciples would no longer be able to see Jesus,
they would have the Holy Spirit to teach them and help them.
They would not be alone.
The Holy Spirit was with the first disciples,
and the Holy Spirit is with us.
‘WE’ are not alone and the church is not alone.
God, the Holy Spirit, ‘IS’ WITH US!
Now that…is what ‘I’ call GOOD NEWS!
Our reading from Revelation tries to describe
-through imagery – a picture of heaven.
Our overall theme of our scripture readings seems to suggest that,
more than a place or a pleasant image, ‘HEAVEN’ is PEACE.
Not the peace ‘WE’ build with our human efforts,
‘BUT’ peace as the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
When the Spirit is present, division is ‘NO’ more;
then we experience ‘GOD’s’ PEACE.
When the Spirit enlightens our hearts and minds,
we know ‘WHO’ God is…
And ‘WHAT’ God wants…’FOR’ us;
THEN…we experience PEACE ‘DIVINE’.
PEACE, I LEAVE WITH YOU!!
The “world” gives ‘A’ sense of peace…something temporary and conditional.
Jesus offers ‘A’ peace which results from the permanent relationship
‘HE’ offers ‘US’ through HIS Gift of the Spirit.
Jesus’ heart was grounded in love ‘FOR’ His Father,
trust in HIM, and complete reliance on his power.
He declared His Father’s greatness:
“The Father is greater than ‘I’”
“I go to the Father”
“I Love the Father.
Nothing, not even the cross,
could disrupt his PEACE and confidence in GOD.
We all face trials, disappointments and fears
And, in each of these situations, JESUS says,
“PEACE, I LEAVE WITH YOU.
MY PEACE ‘I’ GIVE TO YOU.”
He wants to fill our HEARTS—ALWAYS—
with HIS abiding PRESENCE.
He longs to draw us to the Father’s side
so that we can know the kind of PEACE
that does ‘NOT’ depend on the situations around us,
‘BUT’ on the steadfast, solid LOVE of GOD.