Homilette for Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

(John 14:27-31)

Jesus says that his peace is different from that which the world gives. Does he mean that our concept of peace – universal cooperation – is theoretically faulty. No, when we work together to produce a society where each person may live with dignity, our peace approaches Jesus’ own.

Jesus’ peace is full reconciliation with the Father so that people might love one another. To win this reconciliation he must go to the Father through the cross and resurrection. For this reason, he asks his followers not to be troubled. But what has this to do with the peace that we seek?

Many people in the United States are protesting for peace in Iraq. They mean that the United States should withdraw its forces. They are quite aware that withdrawal will add to the bloodshed. But they would argue that hostility in Iraq is a given with or without American presence and that the presence of U.S. military just prolongs the violence.

How Jesus would respond to this argument is hard to say. For this reason, people should not appeal to him to clinch their argument. But we can say that Jesus wants all sides to dialogue, and not abuse one another, over their differences. He would seek as much compromise as truth allows. Finally, he would have the opposing sides of the argument stand in vigilance that the terms of disengagement be implemented. The world seldom pursues such a journey to peace, but Jesus asks us, his followers, to promote it.