One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

May 13, 2007

For the Sixth Sunday of Easter

John 14:23-29

Today is the sixth Sunday of our Risen Lord.
It is the thirty-sixth day since we celebrated his Resurrection in glorified flesh and blood.
For forty days after he rose from the dead, his first disciples saw him face to face.
They touched his body and his wounds.
Though they saw him repeatedly appear and disappear in front of their eyes, he was no ghost
They saw him break bread and eat fish..
For forty days the very first Christians saw God face to face in flesh and blood, once dead and now risen.
Forty days after his Resurrection, he ascended into the invisible glory of heaven.
Before his death, he had told them he would be leaving— in the very words we heard in the Gospel today.
You heard me tell you,
“I am going away....”
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father....
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.

He first spoke those words on the night before he died.
Today we hear those words during the forty days between the Lord’s resurrection and ascension.
It seems the first disciples heard those words with fear, because the Lord told them:
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.”

Not only does he want us to keep our hearts calm and fearless, he wants us to have joy.
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.

For his own personal joy, Christ yearned to go to the Father.
However, this was not a self-centered joy.
He knew that together with his Father he would come to live within those who love him by obeying his word.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him
and make our dwelling with him.

Furthermore, the Lord tells us today that besides himself and his Father, there is a third helper who will come to us.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.

The Father sends us the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ.
Then the Holy Spirit teaches us everything, and brings to our minds all that Christ has taught us.
Christ has drawn a full circle for us in the Gospel today.
God is inside the circle and so are we.
The circle starts with the teaching of Christ.
If we obey the teaching of Christ, he and his Father will live within us.
Then the Father will give us the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ.
Then the Spirit will teach us everything and remind us of all that Christ has taught us.
That’s a full circle.
As the Spirit makes present to us all that Christ has said, we are to obey what Christ has taught.
Then Christ and his Father will live within us.
That cycle goes on.
What is to be the outcome of God and his teaching dwelling within our obedience to him?
Today Christ tells us the outcome.
Peace I leave with you.
My peace I give to you.

What is the peace of Christ?
First of all, HIS peace is that HE is entirely one with the Father.
Christ who tells us to love him by keeping his word— Christ himself loves the Father and keeps the Father’s word.
Christ said today:
the word you hear is not mine,
but that of the Father who sent me.

Christ is at peace with the Father because he obeys the Father.
Peace I leave with you.
MY peace I give to you.

Oddly enough, Christ immediately links HIS peace to a conflict.
NOT as the world gives peace do I give peace to you.

The personal peace of Christ brought him an agony in a garden and death by crucifixion.
The peace of CHRIST is a conflict with the world, because the world wants peace ANOTHER way— any way that does not involve keeping the word of Christ and his Father and the Spirit.
IF you love me,
you will KEEP MY WORD,
and my Father will love you,
and we will come to you,
and the Father will send you the Holy Spirit as well,
and we three will make our dwelling within you.

In his Gospel, Christ goes on to give us himself as the means and model for pursuing and receiving his peace.
I love the Father
and do as the Father has commanded.

In his suffering and death, Christ reveals his own love for the Father, and God’s love “for us men and for our salvation.”
The “Peace” he offers us has been bought with his flesh and blood offered in obedience and love.
In the Body and Blood of Christ, God cuts open a covenant to bind himself to us and invite us to bind ourselves to him.
If we choose to love him in truth and to have the peace he wants for us, then his Eucharistic Covenant tells us to follow his example even though it may bring us agony, conflict with the world, and even death on a cross.
I love the Father
and do as the Father has commanded.

That God Be Glorified in All