Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Homily - "Let nothing disturb your peace"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

I would like to start by talking about a prayer plan for your summer which a few students have asked for.  We have had such a good and fruitful semester with the Holy Spirit together, and we want to keep it going.  It’s tough when we separate for the summer and you all go on your own.  So, the prayer plan will be to pray every day, of course.  I took this to prayer last week and asked the Lord how many minutes a day you should be praying: 5 minutes? 10? 20?  All of a sudden, the lyrics to the song, “22”, came into my head.  No joke.  It was like, “I’m feeling 22”, and I was like, “what? Oh, I’m feeling 22 minutes of prayer each day”.  Kinda weird, I know; I didn’t know Jesus was a Taylor Swift fan! But, it makes sense because every time you hear that song this summer, it will remind you of the prayer plan.
Also, 22 minutes is about the length of the average weekday Mass.  I know you won’t be able to get to Mass every day (in addition to Sunday), but go whenever you can.  The Mass is the greatest prayer; daily Mass is the best way for us to grow spiritually.  It takes about 22 or 23 minutes for me to pray the rosary every night, but I have a long list of intentions that you don’t have (yet) so it won’t take as long.  You can also read one chapter of a Gospel every day, and meditate on it for 22 minutes.  You can “lectio divina”; this is when you pray over a passage and just let a word or phrase or scene really speak to you.  If you have a smart phone, you can get an app called “iBreviary”.  This is the Liturgy of the Hours in which you pray throughout the day – morning prayer, daytime, evening, etc. in the tradition of Jesus and David who prayed seven times a day.  Some of our students do this and love it.  This would add up to 22 minutes.  Whatever you do, I recommend a “prayer partner” – someone who would either do this as well or just hold you accountable for doing it.  You need someone else with you because you won’t be able to do this on your own.  One of our students told me that her brother will be her prayer partner, not that he would pray, but that he would make sure she will pray. 

One of the biggest reasons to pray every day is to remain in the peace of the Holy Spirit.  We have had such a huge semester with the Spirit in persecution, joy, unity, and love.  We want to keep it going!  One student talked to me last weekend about the peace of the Spirit.  She has had such a good year with the Holy Spirit when she needed it most.  She has been at such peace.  But, then last weekend, a friend who is supposedly a believer said things to her that were not from the Holy Spirit.  It really rattled her.  We identified what was going on: that this had disturbed her peace.  It’s like we hear in the first reading where the Apostles are talking about people who have “disturbed your peace of mind”.  It’s a spiritual principle to “let nothing disturb your peace”.  We want to watch out for people or things that will disturb our peace; especially this summer, watch out for serious sin that will do this. So, her peace was disturbed and she was shaken.  Then, she told me the other night that she had a conversation with another friend that was totally from the Holy Spirit.  Her peace was restored, and you could see it all over her face. 

Jesus talks about peace tonight in the Gospel right after alluding to the Holy Spirit “whom the Father will send in my name, …teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you”.  We hear the Spirit teaching the early Church in the first reading in the awesome Acts of the Apostles which we’ve been hearing all Easter season.  It is the Spirit who has led the Church from day one for 2000 years now!  Then, the Lord talks about peace.  He says the words we have heard thousands of times at Mass, “peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”.  The first part is the Jewish greeting of “shalom”; the second part is the peace that Jesus gives which is deeper: the peace of the Holy Spirit.  The peace He gives is the Holy Spirit! We first receive this peace in Baptism and it grows more and more in the sacramental life.  When this peace is embedded in our hearts, we are not “troubled or afraid”.  It is intensely cool to live without fear!  This is the peace of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, let’s go back to the first paragraph of the Gospel – Christ talking about the love of God.  If we love Him, we will keep His Word.  The Spirit helps us to keep His Word…keep the 22 minutes a day this summer.  And, “my Father will love him (or her), and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him”.  God makes His dwelling with us: this is Eucharistic language.  As we receive the Lord tonight in the Eucharist, let us receive His love…let us receive His peace.  It’s like what Father Dan talked about at the Healing Mass: to receive Christ’s healing is to receive His love.  When we receive His peace, we receive His love, and God makes His dwelling with us.  Receive His love tonight, and just rest in His love and His peace.  Dwell in the peace of the Holy Spirit.  Let the peace come deep into your hearts and know that God loves you.  He loves you.  Parting thought for you for the summer: know deep in your hearts that you are good and you are loved.   

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