Saturday, April 19, 2008

5th Sunday of Easter Year – A -

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts

The Gospel today was written for the disciples.
Jesus was first of all speaking to his friends who are about to witness the horror of the Cross.

He is trying to build them up and encourage them.
He wanted to give them something to hold onto when they would see him arrested, tortured and hung in agony on the cross.

Many of the disciples still didn't get that the Messiah's mission would not be fulfilled in coming of a victorious king,but rather a suffering servant as foretold in the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus hoped that the seeds which he planted with these words and the memory of the works he had performed would suddenly make sense to them when he died on the crosss.

He hope these words would give them hope and keep them from despair
when all seemed lost.

Yes those beautiful words " Do not let your heart be troubled" were meant for the Apostles.

But the Word of God also communicates with us.
Jesus is also speaking to us.

His words have meaning and a purpose in our lives.
The Word of God gave hope and direction in the lives of the Apostles but it also should transform us and give us hope.

"Do not let you hearts be troubled" is very apropos for men and women of every time and culture.

Fear has always been a part of the human condition
We are afraid of so many things.

Fear is so prevalent in our society that John Paul II felt it necessary to almost continually remind us not to be afraid.

From the very first moment he walked out onto the balcony after his election
He proclaim that profound truth "Do not be afraid."

In the Gospel the Word reminds us that when fear comes upon us
It is important to faith in God and Faith in Jesus.

Let's look at that.
If we have faith in Jesus we follow his commands
and we embrace his example.

If we have faith in Jesus if we believe He is really the Son of God,
we have to value what he valued and discard what he didn't think was important.

Faith in Jesus liberates us from the cares of the world
Faith in Jesus frees from so many fears.

Believing in Jesus sets us free
by showing us what is really important in our lives and by showing us how to get home.

The Gospel also encourages us to have faith in God.
How can we trust God?
How can our belief in God give us peace and encouragement.

The real question should be how can we not trust God?

If God was willing to send us His only Son to pay the price of our sin and lead us home then doesn't it follow that God will give us anything we could ever possibly need to come home to him?

Fear is such a part of our world our entire world

The poor fear dying from hunger or sickness and they fear for the future of their children like anyone else.

The poor are often very afraid of the violence which is so sadly common place in the lives of refugees and those in desperate need even in our country.

The rich fear not having enough even when some have so much they could never spend what they have.

Some wealthy people also fear only having two houses or not being able to keep up with others more wealthy.

The powerful fear that someone will grow more powerful than them.

The influential fear that someone will become more popular and take their place.

Children fear they will be abandoned.

Teenagers fear they won't fit in or that they are not handsome or beautiful enough. Some are so afraid that they even stop eating.

Young adults fear they won't find a husband or wife they can share their lives with.
College students fear they won't find their place in the world
They (you) are often so afraid you won't find that special place which is life giving and where they can make their contribution.

Young families fear not having enough to give to their children
People starting out in their careers fear that they won't get that special break they need or that they will somehow screw things up.

As children get older Mothers and Fathers are so often afraid for them.
Some of your parents are afraid for you.
Will they be happy ?
Will they do drugs?
Will they find someone to love?
Will we be able to protect them from the struggles of life?

In middle age people filled with fear ask themselves is that all there is?
Is this what life was about?
In their fifties… people often wonder if they have gone as far as they can go in their careers.

They fear the young smart talent people who are coming on board.
They wonder if they still have what it takes.

In their sixties and seventies thoughtful people wonder if they have ever really made any difference with their lives.

They often ask, did I do anything at all of value?
As people grow older they fear getting older

They are afraid of aches and pains

They are afraid of sickness
They are afraid that they won't have enough to retire on
They are so afraid of losing their independence

When people are near death many are so afraid to meet God
Good Holy Generous people become afraid.

Just like there are very few atheists in fox holes
There are very few atheists in hospitals.

Yes fear is all around us.
If we let it fear can rule our lives.


The Gospel says "Do not let your heart be troubled"
If we allow Jesus to be the way the truth and the life

If we base our lives on God's truth,
then we really need very few material possessions
We can even be surprised by how little we really need.

If we base our lives on God's truth
Then we can look at other people as our brothers and sister.

If we pattern our lives after Jesus
Then we don't have to work 60 hour weeks but we can play with our kids and never miss one of their games.

If we pattern our lives after Jesus
Then we don't have to be the most powerful

he saved us by being weak
If we pattern our lives after Jesus

Then we don't have to fear for our children because we can see that they are held in the loving hands of God

If we pattern our lives after Jesus

Then we don't have to fear sickness or old age because even these experiences through which almost everyone must pass can make us better people more generous people.

Sometimes older couple grows apart until one of them gets sick and needs the other.

The salvation of many people and many marriages has been found in the burden of sickness and the necessity of caring for your husband or wife who is ill.

Caring for someone or being cared for changes a person's heart.

This week let's mediate on these powerful words
Do not let your hearts be troubled

Do not let your hearts be troubled indeed.
God means what he says.

Do not be afraid


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