Acts 15:1-2,22-29; Rev 21:10-14,22-23; John 14:23-29
A parish priest cancelled the fixed rate for payment of weddings in his church. The basis for any monetary donation is how the groom can quantify the qualities of his bride. He asked the first candidate: “How responsible is your bride? What you will pay for your wedding is subject to the extent of her being responsible.” The groom proudly replied: “She’s very responsible. I will donate five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) for our wedding if only to approximate her being a responsible person.”
The second candidate was asked: “How understanding is your future wife? That trait is the worth of your payment.” The groom confidently declared: “She’s very understanding. I will vouch it by giving ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) as payment for our wedding.”
The third candidate was asked: “How beautiful is your bride? Your wedding fee depends upon her beauty.” The man got his wallet and gave five pesos (P5.00). “What?” the priest was surprised. “You mean her beauty is only worth five pesos? Is that how ugly she is?” “Yes Father,” the man explained, “If you don’t believe me, you can see her for yourself. She is there at the waiting shed waiting for me.”
The priest went to the waiting shed…he looked at the woman… then he came back to the man… and gave him two pesos (P2.00). “What is this two pesos for?” the man asked. The priest replied, “That is your change!”
You know already what happened.
Today we are already on the Sixth Sunday of Easter. This Sunday comes just before the Lord’s Ascension. It marks Jesus’ last presence with His disciples. The gospel reading contains Jesus’ tender farewell to His disciples. This gospel starts with a very beautiful statement: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.” This is what we see between a happily married couple. Any decision one makes has the consideration for the word of the other, hence there is unity. There are even happy surprises just like in our introductory story. For example, the husband, doing dish washing or laundry spontaneously for the sick or tired wife, shows a comforting and assuring sign of affection and the wife feels she is truly loved.
Jesus will go away but His departure will not mark the end of His ministry and of His mission to bring people back to God. In fact His death and resurrection will be the culmination of His work. But He will also mark a different kind of His presence among us. He will no longer walk with His disciples as the Rabbi of Nazareth. He will be the glorious but invisible Lord.
He will not leave them orphans. He will send the Holy Spirit as their Paraclete, that is, their consoler, advocate, inspirer and one who will teach them everything about Jesus. With the help of the Holy Spirit, they will certainly be capable of continuing the Master’s work: to announce the good news of salvation to the whole world.
A priest said in his homily book that Jesus taught His disciples for a long time. They now know all they should know but still he does not leave them alone and He does not abandon them because He loves them including us. He knows the road is long and rough. With Him as a trusted friend at their side, they may feel confident to reach their destination. He gives them His Spirit. The Spirit will remind them of all things Jesus taught them.
When Jesus mentions the Holy Spirit, he also mentions peace. What do we mean by peace? St. Augustine has a beautiful definition of peace. According to him, peace means: “Serenity of the mind, simplicity of heart and tranquility of soul.”
On the first definition, serenity of the mind, it means that we have this if we do not exaggerate our fears and when we don’t worry too much. Somebody once said that 80 percent of the things we worry about never happen and 15 percent of the misfortunes we worry about don’t take place as seriously as expected. The remaining 5 percent are manageable and easy to handle. And because we worry so much, we have sleepless nights and we tossed ourselves in bed.
The second meaning is simplicity of heart which means that the absence of this is we let our emotions run wild. We get angry and we get envious. This is also mean contentment. So, we have to simplify our wants, desires and needs.
The third meaning is tranquility of soul means that we are not at peace because our life is spiritually messy and topsy-turvy. This happens if the guilty still remains in our hearts because of the sins we committed.
Some other theologians would say that peace is a meaningful relationship with God resulting from forgiveness, reconciliation and union.
This work of peace and love is still in force until today even though two thousands years had passed.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C