Tuesday, April 30, 2013

“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”

"Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action."--Pope John Paul II

(Gospel Text: Jn 14:27-31a)
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.”

The word Gospel means "Good News." What exactly is this Good News promised by the Gospel?

Many today would say "material prosperity." How often we hear preachers proclaiming that following the Gospel guarantees material benefits, such as, good health, long life, success in projects, wealth.

But did the original disciples of Jesus actually preach this Gospel of Prosperity?

Listen to what the first disciples actually preached: "It is necessary for us to undergo hardship to enter the Kingdom of God." Poor Paul is today's example at Mass: "They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing he was dead" (Acts 14:19-28). We recall sadly that Paul, along with rest of the apostles, eventually would die a martyr's death for their faith in Jesus.

So what really is the Good News of the Gospel? What does Jesus actually promise to his disciples?

Listen to Jesus' words in his final discourse 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." And almost every time he appears to his disciples after the resurrection he greets them with the words, "Peace be to you." Jesus keeps his promise.

As Catholics, we celebrate the fulfillment of Jesus' promise. We celebrate the gift believers actually receive from the Resurrected Jesus — not material prosperity -- but his precious presence accompanied by the peace which the world can never give!

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