Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a)
It is no secret that anxiety is on the rise. People of all ages worry increasingly about future problems. Children wonder if global warming will make the world uninhabitable. Teens worry about being accepted to the college of their choice. Adults question if their jobs will be exported to other countries. Certainly Covid-19 is exacerbating this very troubled condition. Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are meant to relieve these fears.
He promises his disciples peace but not the variety the world offers. The world tranquilizes anxiety with drugs, sex, and other forms of excitement. Jesus, on the other hand, brings peace by accompanying those who fear. Paul in today’s first reading serves as an example. He can get up after being nearly murdered because Jesus is with him.
Jesus comes to us especially in the sacraments. They are his “presence in absence.” When a priest anoints us, it is Jesus who strengthens us to bear with the illness. Similarly, when we receive Holy Communion, it is Jesus who nourishes our souls. With Jesus, who endured the cross and conquered death, at our side nothing can do us lasting harm.