DO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED (John14:27) St Peter’s Chaplaincy Reflection led by Prof Njoku, Z. C (9/5/18) “DO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED” (John14:27) This statement is the ending section of John 14:27. The whole of that verse reads: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. This is a parting statement or farewell message or Ultimate Gift Jesus Christ left with the disciples when he was preparing their mind about His going back to the Father Who had sent him to the world for assignment which He has accomplished: the redeeming of Humanity from sin and hell fire. He told them that if they loved Him they should be happy that He is going back to the Father so that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit who would reveal everything, and open their minds to understand everything he had taught them. What does Jesus mean by “Not as the world gives do I give to you?” Does it mean that the PEACE given by Christ is different from the peace given by the world? What is PEACE? Dictionary Meaning - Freedom from Disturbances; State of tranquility. Synonyms of PEACE are Calmness, Tranquility, Restfulness, Quietness. Is it always true that when there is calmness/tranquility/quietness/restfulness, there is PEACE? Peace does not mean absence of WAR or noise, because you can have tranquility/calmness in times of war. There may be calmness or tranquility in the midst of trouble. Therefore, calmness/tranquility may not be indicator of peace. If you cannot feed your children, or the children cannot go to school because there is no money for school fees, your house may be quiet and calm but inside the parents’ minds in that house there is not peace, they are worried, unhappy, or may even be embittered. Is there peace within Christians and Christian communities, within the world, among Christians, between Christians and non-Christians? There is multiple wrangling in all directions in the world. The world is full of crises, wars, natural disasters, pollution, homelessness, hunger and penury, labour unrest, political and economic woes, corruption, stealing, bad governance, wickedness, injustice, loneliness, kidnaping, armed robbery, struggles for scarce natural resources, land, etc etc. There is NO PEACE in the world. I do not think that the world can give peace to anybody because it does not have peace. One can only give what one has, and not to the contrary. What kind of peace does Christ mean that is not the kind of peace the world gives? My feeling is that Jesus Christ gives spiritual PEACE which manifests as physical, temporal and interpersonal peace, love and justice among Christians. The establishment of the Catholic Church by Jesus Christ is the ultimate GIFT of PEACE if we make use of what we have correctly and effectively. And He said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, His Church/Bride on earth. Some people establish denominational churches for different purposes other than the Devine Purposes of Christ Jesus. Even when such churches are called Christ church or church of God, the names do not make such churches the Bride of Christ because they have not been derived from the Apostolic Mandate given to Peter the Apostle. From the earliest history of the Church, Catholics and Her leadership has espoused PEACE and justice all over the world. This is because the Apostolic Mandate given by Jesus Christ Himself means peace and love. The Catholic Church, or Catholics have very many and very strong Spiritual Resources which yield peace from various perspectives. The Catholics have: The Bible and its sound interpretation by well-educated and well-trained Experts - the Catholic Priests and higher authorities than priests in the Church. The Bible contains lots of peace if we read it properly. The Bible contains the solution to all problems of lack of peace. The Bible explains all ramifications of life, and readers find explanations of what tends to worry them and they get solace. We only need to read with understanding, faith and full surrender to the author and finisher of our faith. The Sacraments: Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Reconciliation/Confession/Penance, Extreme Unction. The SACRAMENTS are Instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church. They are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses. Through them Devine life is bestowed upon us and that includes PEACE (The Catholic Catechism,1113-1131). The Mass, Liturgy: No other religion has the Mass. No other person can in any way cause transubstantiation except an Ordained Catholic Priest. The Holy Communion, the Eucharist, may appear small and simple to all of us due to lack of knowledge/ignorance. But Jesus mandated His priests, the Catholic Priests, through the Order of the Apostles (all of whom were Catholics, and all their remains and relics are with the Catholic Church today) to do that in His memory. That is to conduct Mass and carry out transubstantiation. In Mass Christ is the Priest as well as the Sacrificial Victim. The Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration Various Novenas The Rosary The various Pious Organizations /Sodalities in the Church Precepts of the Church These Sacraments and other Church instruments of worship and guidance give us, the Catholics, lots and lot of peace. The Sacraments, especially the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist, the Mass/liturgy, the Rosary etc. give Catholics lots of spiritual and temporal peace and vitality. When we lose our peace due to sin, we reconcile with humanity and God through confession and penance and we get back our spiritual peace and our Devine Essence – the Image of God in which we have been created by God. I have read where a Bishop of some of the many Christian denominations, the late Bishop Benson Idahosa, was admonishing his pastors and told them: If only Catholics know what they have, and Catholic Priests get it right, that all the pastors would be out of business sooner than later. He knew they are doing business with the Body of Christ. They know that Christian denominations conduct worship without sacrifice (an absurdity of modern age – Mohandra Gandhi). They have non-sacrificial programmes that cannot transubstantiate. Catholics have the MASS, the Lamb’s SUPPER The last part of Jn 14, verse 27 is the theme of this reflection, and it says: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. In preparing the minds of the disciples for his eventual Ascension to the Father in Heaven, Christ saw that the disciples were very worried, despondent and actually afraid. The disciples were witnesses to the political traps set by various religious politicians against Jesus Christ, they would be witnesses to His political by Crucifixion. They were therefore very worried about what the Jews would do to them when Christ has left them as He has said he would. I think their fears were genuine and justified. But Christ was actually encouraging them not to be worried about not only the immediate troubles, but also beyond the immediate possibilities of bodily harm or even death through persecution by the Jews. Indeed, Christ informed the disciples that “If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you (Jn 15: 20). “They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”- (Monday 7/5/18 Missal Gospel Reading, -Jn 16: 2). What is the situation of the Nigerian Church today? Look at the contradiction: Christ told the disciples not to be worried, not to fear, as well as the disaster of their mass persecution and killing after throwing them out of the Synagogues. Why should they not be troubled? As human beings they have every right to be troubled. Christ, however knew far more than what the disciples could imagine. He knew that he had founded his Church on such a solid foundation that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, but the disciples did not know that. He knew that by the time the Holy Ghost comes the Church would explode into vibrancy, having been freed from fear of death or timidity or intimidation. The Holy Ghost would teach the disciples anew and remind them of all that Christ had taught them, strengthen their faith and abolish their fears. It is this GIFT of the Holy Ghost the Mother Church has transformed into the SACRAMENTS which have been handed down from the Apostles to us. How can we, the modern Church, be afraid when we have such powers as can be appropriated from the Eucharist, the Holy Mass, the Rosary, Penance etc. These are our spiritual weapons which no temporal powers can withstand. In our conditions as the Nigerian Church under persecution by Jihadists which is apparently sponsored by government, it is time to mobilize our weapons of mass evangelization and conversion of the enemy, mass disarming of the enemy. It has happened before in Fatima, Portugal, Ibi, Taraba State of Nigeria in 1987 etc. Let us deploy our Rosary; let us engage in multiple novenas; let us draw up prayer roasters and follow them; let us storm heaven with prayers; let us move the Right Hand of God with mass and sporadic prayers. With prayers we can divide our own RED SEA TO ALLOW GOD’S CHILDREN PASS. The QUEEN of PEACE will listen to the supplications of Her children and intercede for us using the very language her Almighty Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will understand. We should not be afraid if we understand who we are and what we have. We are the children of the Most-High, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who divided the RED SEA so that the Jews may pass. It is this same God that has fortified the Jewish State of Israel. We are Jews, we should repent, get out of sin and call down our God on our enemies. If we have the Almighty God in our battle line, we have no right to be Afraid, our heart should not be troubled.
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