The Peace of Christ
The faithful stopping the fearful
April 19, 2020
Father David Jones
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Covid19 virus Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
This is no longer a story from back in the day
This one is alive right now.
Church it is always when we are in fear
When we are locked away
When we are hiding
That the Lord comes and says
Peace be with you.
God does this because he is just that good!
We like to brag and boast and sing about every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart
I will dance, I will sing, I will rejoice.
But we need to hear this Word of God and add some truth to our songing
Every time I feel the spirit when we are afraid, I will dance, dance, dance.
I will dance to shake off the fear
I will dance to drop off the dead weight
I will dance to get rid of the doubt
I will dance to eradicate the indifference
Fear is an emotion that always works against God
Fear always gets in the way of what God wants done
And what God wants done is for us to dance in the spirit.
To be faithful, at all times and in every way, to do His will.
What God wants is us to keep so busy working with him
That we don’t have time for the small stuff, the dumb stuff nor the weak stuff.
Often on this Sunday with this gospel we focus on the doubt of Thomas, but I suggest that we need to pray, not pay, attention to those who are letting their fear be greater than their faith, because they are our sisters and brothers who will get in the way of our God.
We cannot let the fearful stop the faithful
That would be backwards
It’s the faithful that are supposed, by design of God, stop the fearful.
Jesus repeatedly instructs, be not afraid.
There is a difference in staying away, keeping apart and sheltering in the time of storm because you are afraid
And staying away, keeping apart and sheltering in the time of storm because you are a child of God.
When we stay away because we are afraid
When we lock our self in because we are afraid
We are seeking to be in control of our troubles.
When we shelter in the time of storm because we are children of God, we are seeking to be in control of our love.
Clearly, if you ask God what do you want me to do when everybody in the world is getting sick?
God will answer you, I want you to work hard not to make people sick. That’s love and it makes all the difference.
Let us note that Jesus comes and says peace when the disciples are locked away in fear. He is challenging them
Choose fear or choose peace. And know that only one of those will cause you to hide.
Jesus says to them peace be with you
And then he said Receive the Holy Spirit.
And then he said whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
And then he said whose sins you retain are retained.”
Church it means something that God doesn’t address our fears
He only addresses our peace.
God can work with us when we hold our peace.
When we are afraid, we are of no use to God
And small use to ourselves and our loved ones.
All the time we spend feeling bad
Ask yourself why do those words, bad, sad, and mad rhyme,
All the time we spend on those emotions are time we are not spending with our God.
In this reading God is asking for an exchange.
Give up that which makes you worry for that which makes you pray.
If we didn’t learn that in lent, let us learn that in Easter.
God responds to prayer
Because of what we believe
Not because of what we fear.
That is very important information
And a very important revelation in a pandemic.
God is not looking for our fears
God is looking for our faith
God is looking for the ways that we find to keep on keeping on
When we cannot physically come together
God is looking for how we come together in spirit
Because as the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reminded us “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
That which we do with the Spirit of God
That which we do with the Peace of Christ
That which we do with the Love of the Father
Is that which has the power to save the world
Doesn’t simply keep us from dying out of fear,
It allows us, for a few days and years on earth,
To live in love.
God always knew we cannot be in the same building
We cannot be in the same race
We cannot be on the same political side
We cannot be of the same opinion about abortion, marriage, war or slavery.
So, he counsels do not be afraid
And offers peace
With the peace of Christ, we will not die one by one
We will live in unity, harmony and peace.
Christ offers peace, because it’s the only way to live.
Once again, the Gospel is clear
Our choice is not between the haves and have nots.
Our choice is to die a little day by day,
Or live forever more.
Church, hold your peace.
It’s the way out of the pandemic of dis-ease
And the way into the pandemic of peace