Peace in Hardships

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for May 16th, 2017
Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Liturgical texts here

 

SAINT Seraphim of Sarov once said, “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you, thousands will be saved.” Maybe this is another reason why the world remains unmoved by Christians today: we too are restless, worldly, fearful, or unhappy. But in today’s Mass readings, Jesus and St. Paul provide the key to becoming truly peaceful men and women.

After what appears to be a fatal stoning, St. Paul gets up, goes to the next town, and starts preaching the Gospel again (who needs caffeine?).

They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Today’s first reading)

But there’s more to these words than meets the eye, for hardships alone are not enough to enter the Kingdom. Don’t pagans and Christians alike suffer? The key, as Paul so dramatically illustrated, lies in the disposition of the heart toward God. So great was his trust in the Lord, that He continued to preach the Gospel not knowing if the next drubbing was right around the corner. That’s faith.

Yet, how many times do we allow even small trials to rock our faith in God? In the parable of the sower, Jesus describes such souls as ones whose hearts are like rocky soil, where the roots of trust are only surface deep.

When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. (Matt 13:21)

So before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus gave some crucial words to His followers:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid… I will no longer speak much with you… (Today’s Gospel)

I will no longer speak much with you. That is, the Lord is not going to give you explicit instructions every time a trial comes along. “I am going away and I will come back to you,” He said. That is, He will now guide you through His peace unlike anything the world can give. It is a supernatural peace found in the heart, far below the roaring waves of words and emotions… if we but look for it, and wait for it, before proceeding in this or that way.

But in order to find it, He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid… for it is necessary to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” That is, abandon yourself to Him—totally, entirely. Surrender to His will—completely, without reserve. Wait upon Him—in docility, trust, and silent waiting.

Let Satan cast His stones… but as for you, trust in the Lord.

Jesus concludes today’s Gospel saying,

…the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.

Likewise, the world must know that you and I  love the Father and that we do just as the Father has commanded—whether that is resisting temptation to sin, trusting in financial hardship, accepting a poor turn in health, enduring unemployment, giving until it hurts to those in need, and serving others when no one serves us—and doing all of this in a spirit of abandonment and peace. Do this, and around you, many will be drawn to the “rivers of living water” flowing from within you[1]cf. John 7:38—a Spirit of peace who cries out to them through your witness: “You too, do not be troubled or afraid! Jesus has not left you either. Come to Him all you are weary, tired, and lacking in peace, and He will give you rest.”

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. (Today’s Psalm response)

 

RELATED READING

Building the House of Peace

  
Bless you and thank you.

 

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THROUGH SORROW WITH CHRIST
MAY 17TH, 2017

A special evening of ministry with Mark
for those who have lost spouses.

7pm followed by supper.

St. Peter’s Catholic Church
Unity, SK, Canada
201-5th Ave. West

Contact Yvonne at 306.228.7435

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1. cf. John 7:38
Posted in HOME, MASS READINGS, SPIRITUALITY, ALL.

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