Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Rev 21:10-14, 22-23
Christ’s Presence and Peace
Next Sunday our celebration of the Easter season will come to an end. Today’s liturgy teaches us that Jesus will remain with us through the Holy Spirit who will continue to teach us everything we need to know to be disciples of the Risen Christ.
In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus is preparing his disciples for his absence by telling them that he will be leaving them. He wants them to continue to believe in him and to know that they will not be abandoned. He tells them an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will come to them to teach them all they need to know to carry on his mission.
This same message is given to us just as it was given to those original followers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is with us today, every day, to console us, give us peace and teach us to be faithful followers of the Risen Christ.
When we try to love our God with all our heart, even with our human weakness, we can feel loved by God. Some of the most consoling words of scripture make this clear – “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.”
This peace of Christ’s is lasting. It is an interior peace of heart. This peace reaches into families, communities and the entire world. This peace comes because we know that God is with us every moment of every day. We know that we are loved by God, that we are always forgiven by God for our human mistakes, and that we carry on the mission of Christ as committed followers.
A favorite prayer of mine summarizes this close, intimate relationship with Christ. It is the Breastplate of St. Patrick.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me
From snares of devils, from temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in multitude.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every [person] who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the three-ness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.
What does the peace of Christ mean to you?
How do you try to deepen your relationship with the Risen Christ, to be in Christ’s presence?