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Jesus' peace is ours for the taking

Based on Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rv 21:10-14, 22-23; Gospel of Jn 14:23-29
Our world is filled with tension, conflict and apprehension. Even in the early church, the disciples dealt with differences and conflicting opinions.

Acts follows last Sunday’s passage highlighting Paul and Barnabas’ success in bringing the faith to the Gentiles. But, some Judean Christians wanted the Gentiles to follow all Jewish religious practices, including circumcision. Discussion of this issue followed between Paul and the disciples in Jerusalem. It ended up being the first church council, the Council of Jerusalem. After consultation and communal discernment, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the council decided that circumcision would not be required of the Gentiles nor would observance of the Mosaic Law. The Gentiles needed only to follow some dietary laws.

In Revelation, John continues to describe the heavenly Jerusalem. Old Testament Judaism believed that God dwelt in the Jerusalem temple. In the heavenly Jerusalem there is no temple because God is everywhere. Nor is there need for sun or moon because the Risen Christ is the Light of the World.

In the Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples at the Last Supper and promises them the indwelling of the Trinity, the help of the Holy Spirit (the Advocate) to understand all that Jesus taught them and his peace.

Jesus told them not to be afraid. They must have found it hard to grasp all he told them and what they experienced in their time with him. But after Good Friday, Easter, the Ascension and the Holy Spirit coming on Pentecost, the disciples will know exactly what Jesus meant.

We need only remember Jesus’ two great commandments – to love God and neighbor – to do our part in following Jesus. Prayer, the Mass, the sacraments (especially Eucharist and reconciliation) and the Scriptures help us to grow in grace, love and knowledge of God.

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit come to us – to live in our hearts, to teach us and to bring us peace whenever we are afraid.

The peace Jesus offers differs from the world’s peace that generally is imposed by force. Jesus’ peace is offered freely and ours for the taking. It is the deep feeling of joy in our minds and hearts that comes from asking Jesus to be at the center of our lives, trying our best to live as his followers and sharing his love with others.