The Gospel proclaimed at Mass this morning (Luke 19:41-44) is short in the number of words in the text, but profoundly powerful in its message. It offers to each of us a treasure which all men and women long for, a path to peace.
We will only find this path to true peace when we recognize the time of our own visitation; when we enter into an ongoing relationship with the One who is the only source of true peace, Jesus Christ, and learn to recognize His coming in our own lives. .
In the Gospel text we encounter Jesus as He begins His journey to Jerusalem.
There He will voluntarily offer Himself on the Second Tree of the Cross. he will deal death a fatal blow and crush the evil one whose lies had unleashed its awful effect, separation from God and the resulting bad fruit of estrangement.
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The Cross, an instrument of torture, will become the sign of peace, for those who find their refuge under its shadow and embrace the One who stretches out His arms to embrace the whole world.
There Jesus will deal definitively with the great enemy of peace, the sin which impedes it in each of our lives. With tenderness He looks out from the Mount of Olives and sees the Holy City of Jerusalem.
How he loves that City. Then, Jesus weeps. He knows the City will soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He weeps the tears of Love and cries compassion from His Sacred Heart:
If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. (Luke19:41-44)
He had spent three years walking her dusty streets and encountering her inhabitants, welcoming them all to find peace through encountering God, fully revealed. He had taught in the temples and engaged the learned with the wisdom of heaven itself.
He had healed the sick, multiplied bread – and even raised the dead. However, they failed to recognize the time of their visitation. Their eyes were closed to the One who held within Him and His Message the very path to peace. They did not recognize God in their midst.
Jesus continues to visit us. He is walking in our own lives right now. He speaks to us in His Word. He comes to us in the most Holy Eucharist and take up His residence within us. He is present in the person sitting right next to us. He is found in the eyes of the poor, in all of their manifestations.
His love and mercy are revealed in the events of our everyday life, if we have the eyes to see Him – the eyes of living faith. It is in personally encountering Him that we find the path to peace.
In a world which is spiraling out of control, we who bear the name Christian are called to live in this true peace. We are also called to bring others to this true peace, by bringing them to an encounter with the One who it’s only Source, Jesus Christ, the Savior.
Peace is not the absence of conflict. Rather, it is the presence of God. It grows and transforms us when we learn to live in that presence. When we do, we become its very instrument in the lives of others.
At the Last Supper, right before he walked the Way of the Cross for each one of us, Jesus spoke these words to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”. (John 14:27)
We need to hear these words today, deep inside. In that place the Scripture refers to as the heart. The path to true peace passes through prayer, encounter and communion.
Jesus set forth a relational framework for living a life of prayer in that prayer we call the Our Father. We pray it together at every liturgy – and we offer one another a sign of peace.
In the Gospel of St. Luke, after teaching the disciples to enter into a life of communion by utilizing that prayer as a framework, he tells the disciples a parable concerning one particular type of prayer, persevering prayer for needs. (Luke 11:1-13)
However, His entire time with the disciples is an instruction in Prayer and communion with His Father. It is a demonstration of living in real peace, the kind that only Jesus can give. The kind that comes from a relationship with the Father, in and through Him, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus shows His disciples – and He shows us us, because we are His disciples in this hour – the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invites them – and He invites us – into this very communion of love which He has with the Father, in the Spirit.
He shines His light on the path to peace. With the eyes of living faith, we can actually begin see that path and to walk in it. The, Christianity becomes that Way of Life it is meant to be. It is not something, but Some One we follow. We now live in Him and He lives in and through us.
We discern that path and learn to walk its way when we come to recognize the time of our own visitation. This is not an unattainable aspiration! It is an invitation into a new way of living, a life of communion with God – a life of peace – even in the midst of travail.
Through His saving Incarnation, His Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus removes the impediment to all of us our entering into this true peace and communion. He also enables us by grace to begin living in that communion in the here and now, by cultivating lives of prayer and communion.
He shows us the path to the peace we long for and makes it possible, beginning right now. We can learn to recognize His visitation; all of His visitations. We are invited to choose not to reject Him, but to embrace Him.
He enlists each one of us in bringing the whole world to peace, through encountering Him, and learning how to recognize his visitation. Then, we help others to do the same by turning to Him in faith.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.