This Great Gift Gives Us The Grace And Strength To Endure!
Peace! In this world, with all of its terrors, its threats, its suffering, its bitter poverty, and its rapacious greeds, our greatest desire is for a comforting and secure peace. But the peace that our hearts desire cannot come from worldly politics. It cannot be imposed upon us by force of arms. The peace that we so desire, that has eternity in it, can only come from Jesus Christ and from our willing choices to actively live our daily lives in accord with his law of love.
Jesus tells us, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever–the Spirit of truth.” (verse 15-16) He does not sugar coat this either, for he then tells us how the world will react to us when we do this. Because “the world” is full of pride and ego, it often chooses not accept Jesus’ law of love. On the other hand, the one who knows Jesus’ commands “and keeps them,” is the one who loves Jesus. This one, in turn, will be loved by the Father. This one will not be left alone when the world comes against him or her.
As Christians, we know that we have received this promised Advocate, the Holy Spirit. The Church received it on the occasion of Pentecost. And each one of us received it at our baptisms. It is this great gift from and through the Father and the Son that teaches us and encourages us, that gives us the grace and the strength to both endure the attacks of the worldly, and to continue growing in our ability to love as Jesus loved us. The Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans concerning the world’s attacks, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
The peace that we seek can only come to us through our faith in Jesus Christ. If we truly love Jesus, we must also respond to his magnanimous gift of love by living our public lives in obedient accord with his commands. Here, then, is the great paradox of our faith. By choosing to live in accord with Jesus’ commands to love all others as he loved us, we will often be attacked, ridiculed, and rejected by the world, just as he was. Yet, if we humbly and willingly choose to live in this way, he will give us a peace that cannot be conquered by the world. If we do this, we will no longer be afraid, our hearts will no longer be troubled, for the Spirit will fill us with a peace that is both real, and beyond all understanding.
Lord, we pray that you continue to teach us the wisdom of your law of love through the power of your Holy Spirit. Encourage and strengthen us with your peace while we are in the midst of our trials. Help us to remember your commands and to humbly and willingly live them out publicly before the world, yes, even toward our enemies. We pray these things, as always, in your most holy name, Jesus. Amen!
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