April 7, 2017
FRIDAY, Lent week five
Where Do We Find Our Peace?
The Responsorial (Psalm 18) is a reminder we never stop feeling the need for: “In my distress I called upon the Lord and he heard my voice.”
Jeremiah 20: 10-13 shows us what Jesus predicted for his disciples:
“Terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce him. Those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
Jesus said, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!’
See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves... Beware of them.... Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child.... You will be hated by all because of my name.
It takes courage to study God’s word. We may get insights we don’t want — about ourselves, others, friends and family, the Church, the world we live in. (That first came out as a typo: “the world we lie in.” Also true). Once we see the truth, what do we do with it? Put it under a bushel basket? Speak it? Live it out? The last two can get us in trouble. But Jesus calls this peace!
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!
The assurance of victory gives peace even in the midst of conflict. “In my distress I called upon the Lord and he heard my voice” — and answered, “Peace!”
John 10: 31-42 is all about Jesus’ identity. His enemies were stoning him because “you who are only a man are making yourself God.”
If we are honest in professing our faith, the same can be said of us. We say we are the actual, physical body of Christ, not just God’s creatures but his true children. His own divine life is in us, because we are filii in Filio, “sons and daughters in the Son.” Each of us says with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” By Baptism we have “become Christ.”
And we claim that this groping, sinful “pilgrim Church” we are is uniquely the “one true Church” of Jesus Christ! While all Christian assemblies have something of his Church in them, we alone have all that is required to be the full Church Jesus founded. Does that make us popular?
Jesus said, “If I do not perform my Father’s works, put no faith in me.” We as a Church may hesitate to suggest that, but people will do it anyway. If the “fruit of the Spirit” is not visible in us; if we don’t obviously love God and all our neighbors; read and reflect on God’s word as disciples; live a lifestyle different from our culture as prophets; celebrate liturgy with enthusiasm and nurture one another as priests; care for the poor and work to establish the reign of God’s justice and peace on earth as stewards of his kingship, no proofs from Scripture or theology will convince anyone that we actually are the living body of Jesus Christ on earth.
Initiative: Have the courage to read, reflect, speak and do. Be Christ visibly.