The first summer after my ordination I received a call from our Provincial
He said he needed me to go to one of our parishes and help one of our senior friars there.
When I arrived Fr. was so cordial and welcoming. We went out to dinner and when I asked him what Mass he needed me to take he said sleep in don’t worry I’ll take the Masses.
I went to bed asking myself why am I here?
The next morning I was at breakfast with him we were laughing and talking and then the phone rang.
His demeanor completely changed and he answer “Franciscan Friars we’re eating breakfast and hung up shaking his head.”
About an hour later the phone rang again and he answered “Hello, Yes What No” and hung up really frustrated.
He wasn’t much better at the door.
That evening he lamented they just don’t give you any peace here.
I have no peace.
He was approaching 80 and retiring in three week and It became clear to me that he was just spent.
So I spent the next three weeks racing to the phone and the door before he could get them and them relaying to him the messages.
When he retired the new guy came in and all was well again.
Now I understood why I was there.
After school many of our parents let the little ones play in the playground. I think it tires them out. Sometimes the kids don’t want to leave a couple of weeks ago one of our mom’s called to her son Jimmy come on.
Nothing, She tried again “Jimmy we have to go and get your sister,” he didn’t budge. Then all of a sudden this voice came out of her mouth that made us all jump.
The whole playground turned and looked at her Jimmy froze and came running. A couple of days later she came up to me and apologized.
Fr. I know I sounded horrible the other day, My tone even surprised me. I’m just tired. I have no peace. There is no quiet in my life. I take care of the house, take care of the kids, work full time and I’m surrounded by noise all day. I have no peace.
Our world is so busy and so noisy and we work so hard and wear many hats that sometimes are are just exhausted or frustrated or angry or resentful and we don’t know what to do about it.
In today’s Gospel Jesus promises us peace, God’s peace, Shalom ,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives it do I give it to you.
So we have to understand that when Jesus made this promise He did not mean that our lives would be free from interruptions.
Nor did He promise us quiet moments
Rather His promise of peace was a solemn promise of God’s love and God’s support. It is nothing less than the promise of God’s never ending presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit.
What Jesus is really saying is God is with you always...not matter what not matter what happens.
When a person heard the word Shalom during Jesus’ time they could understand it as a whole number of ways.
Shalom could mean be healthy.
It could be like saying I wish you safety and tranquility
It could mean may your life be complete or may you know you are loved by God.
You see good people when we let God in our hearts,
when are able to trust the living presence of God’s Spirit in our lives,
when we finally accept that we are truly precious to God and loved by God,
then no matter what life throws our way,
no matter how many times the phone or doorbell ring,
no matter how much noise the kids are making we can be complete, we can be at peace and unafraid and calm and tranquil because nothing else really matters but God’s love.
Peace comes from our ability to recognize who God really is in our lives and trust him completly.
Only when we abandon our fears and our frustrations and trust God can we can we enjoy God’s peace.
St. Theresa of Aviala was a great reformer of the Church kind of like St. Francis, she was called by God to reform the Carmelite order which had become very worldly.
She was misunderstood, thrown out of her convent, put on a kind of ecclesiastical trial, and suffered all kinds of harsh words and tribulations.
We know how she felt because she wrote journals all of her life.
On particularly hard day she said to God in prayer “If this is the way you treat your friends no wonder you have so few.”
Yet because she accepted and was guided by God’s presence in her life she remained faithful to God’s call no matter what the difficulty she faced
She found peace when she dared to take God at his word and trust his love. and she left us this beautiful prayer.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
Let us trust God and be at peace