Wednesday, April 25, 2018
THE MISSION OF THE PEACEFUL SPIRIT
How is the cycle of vengeance ever to be stopped?
Christ said to His disciples, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so also, I am sending you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his or her sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.” – John 20:21-23
While so many believe that violence prevents violence, my experience of life and my knowledge of history observes that violence begets violence even in those times when the vengeance is delayed. It is the sinful cycle of retributive justice, vengeance once let loose keeps returning.
The Risen Christ takes the time to prepare His disciples for the life they will not enter. He knows He must prepare them to do the work which He has begun. But how does Christ go about preparing them?
Christ bestows upon the Peace that comes from heavenly realms, a Peace this world of which the world cannot provide. This is not the peace of armistices forged by way of victory and defeat but rather the Peace that comes by way of persuasion and transformation. This Peace is a dimension of their mission, to save the world from its cycle of violence and vengeance. It is the Peace that is the very Breath of His Life, the Spirit, that He now breathes into their souls. Now they breathe with the very Breath of Christ; now they breathe with the Peace of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast to the Gospel writer of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the gospel writer John has the Spirit coming gently upon the disciples, as a whispering, life-sharing breath, the Life’s Breath that bestows Peace both within the disciple and in the work of the disciple.
And what is the means by which this Peace of Heaven conveyed? By the Way of Mercy. It is the power to forgive and restore. Christ ordains this authority so that His disciples might be about the work of bring Peace into the world. This Peace-making Mercy is both an endowment to be used and a command to be obeyed. We must forgive, lest the Mercy is not applied in human tones.
Thus, I am a man of Peace because the Holy Spirit is within me and the Lord has bestowed me with Mercy. And by way of this Mercy … the cycle of vengeance can be ended.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz