Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Earlier this week, I was called to the bedside of someone I was told was actively dying. When I arrived, the person said, “Father, we need to make a date. I need some peace in my life that when I die, you will be doing the funeral!” Of course, I had many things I wanted to say, but the only thing I did say was, “Yes, I would be happy to celebrate your funeral!” How could I now refuse? As I walked out to go, she said, “Now remember, we have a date?”
Later in the week, I talked to a family member of the woman who is actively dying, as she called and wanted to make sure I was available to do the funeral. The family member said, “I know she does not have very long. Are you available next Tuesday for the funeral?” I said, “Yes!” The woman told my sister will be very happy that the two of you have a date.” Later that day, the family member called me back and said, I went to my sister, and I told her that the date of her funeral would be on Tuesday. She smiled, raised thumbs-up, and passed away! The woman wanted to make sure she had a date for peace. Our readings today ask the question, “Do we have a date for peace in our lives?” We do not need to be dying to have this peace.
In our second reading, Paul says, “You who were once far off have been drawn nearer to Christ by his blood because Jesus is always about peace.” So when we are struggling and feel “far off,” do we know that God is already making a date for us to know his peace?
In our Gospel, the apostles are returning from their first mission trip. Jesus can see how hard they have worked and how tired they are from all they have done in his name. His first concern is for their rest and peace, so Jesus says, “Come along with me to a deserted place to find peace.” Although the people keep coming, Jesus’s number one concern is the rest and peace of his apostles. Jesus is making a date with them of peace.
However, we see also that Jesus is very concerned for the rest and peace of those who keep coming to him. He never gives up on them also.
My friends in Christ, “Do we have a date for the peace of Christ in our lives?” In this Eucharist, I will say, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.” It is not my peace but the peace of Jesus Christ himself. It is not what we do but what we have become that brings us peace.