Ac 14. 19-28; Ps 145; Jn 14. 27-31a
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Witness to Truth and Life
We are aware in our nation that many are put death: captial punishment and abortion are enemies of truth and life. Abroad many die by violence we cannot imagine. Each one is a crime against life and truth. Yet it is Truth and Life, who we continue to celebrate particularly this season. It is also clear to me that same Risen Jesus is present in all who die. In them Risen Jesus shows us his wounds today.
It was like that from Easter night, when the disciples recognized Risen Jesus by his wounds; when they were harried and wounded in Jerusalem; to Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians. Today’s passage of Acts focuses Jesus’ farewell, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives as mandate and warning. God seeks peace through those who are related to God as Jesus was: attuned to God; aligned with God’s heart; and—dreadfully difficult to hold in view but clearly present in Jesus before his resurrection—accepting suffering for others and with others.
In this last, Risen Jesus’ gift–mandate also warns us not to shun our duty to mediate God’s peace to persecutors. Put another way: courageously always stand for Truth and Life. Will we be stoned? More than likely, no. Surely, though, our hearts will be bruised; our reputations wrinkled (if not ruined); and our lives will be ever different.
As the Letter to the Hebrews said: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood./1/ But struggle—bloody or no—belongs to us all. Our greatest struggle has the greatest suffering-for-others power: witness—to give it and to be it. Pity that the lectionary omitted Jesus’ final words in the last verse we heard: Get up, let us go. Today and until Risen Jesus’ returns, let us go is witness.
1. Hebrews 12.4.
Wiki-image of the Antioch Chalice is in the public domain.