“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21?
Peace. What steals our peace? What causes us anxiety, worry? Who stirs the soul toward or away from the peace Jesus talks about? Is there a spot, a certain location, that promotes Jesus’ peace? Is there an issue or situation that steals Jesus’ peace? Jesus says the world’s peace is not the same as His peace. What is the difference? Last Sunday, Father Manuel, at Roseburg’s St. Joseph church, said experiencing God’s mercy and having a relationship with Jesus is the key to understanding this peace Jesus is talking about.
Father Manuel started his homily with this story:
There is a story about a priest and a soap maker who were friends. One day while taking a walk in the city, the soap maker asked his friend, “what possible good can religion be? After thousands of years of preaching goodness, truth, and peace, look at all the misery and sin in the world. If religion is supposes to be so beneficial for people, who should this be?”
For awhile, the priest said nothing in reply. Shortly, they came to a school yard where some children were playing in the dirt. They were covered with dust. The priest then spoke up, “See those kids. You say that soap makes people clean, but still those children are dirty. I wonder how effective soap is after all.”
The soap maker protested, “But, Father, soap is of no value unless people use it”. Precisely, replied the priest. “And so it is with religion”. Faith and religion are empty unless we put them into practice.
God provides, but we must accept His mercy and seek His presence in our lives.
Last night I read a story about a young man who considered suicide because of depression where darkness was becoming too painful. I think Father Manuel’s sermon would have caused this man, who had gone to church as a child with his family, feelings of guilt and failure. He needed help. Christ IS the key to peace, but sometimes people need to experience Christ’s peace with the help from a doctor’s prescriptions. Sometimes Christ’s peace comes after confession and experiencing God’s mercy. Sometimes a visit with a counselor will help us work through addictions and harmful habits before Christ’s peace can be experienced.
After writing this last paragraph, I wonder if those who don’t want a relationship with Jesus would say….”using a doctor, talking with professionals, asking forgiveness can all be accomplished without Jesus or the use of religion.” My response: God can use all things he has created for His purpose of bringing us healing. Besides, complete healing can only come when we trust the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. The one who created us.
Lord, give me wisdom to seek only your peace (not the world’s peace) and encourage those I meet to do the same.