This Gospel is taken from what is called the “Farewell Discourse” of Christ. It is presented in the context of the Last Supper, the last chance that Christ would have, so it would seem, to teach and strengthen his Apostles.
In this Gospel, the Lord describes these pieces of equipment to help his disciples handle any crisis: His Word, His Spirit and His Peace.
First, he gives us His Word. Jesus says “Anyone who loves me will be true to my Word”. For us Catholics, we find that Word in Scripture and tradition. By keeping that Word, by following it, we are secure in Christ.
In an age of spin, Scripture contains the unchanging rock of God’s truth. God’s word lifts our vision beyond the immediate present to the larger drama of our life.
Cultural styles may change but nobody can ever destroy the truth. The Word of Christ is the abiding rock of truth for any crisis and it’s there for every one of us.
The second piece of equipment Christ gave us to face any crisis is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will not only dwell in our churches, that He Himself will not only be present in the sacraments or where two or three are gathered in His name, but will dwell within us and make His Home in us. We don’t have to hunt for God, like somebody in the series of search programmes on the Discovery Channel. He dwells inside us through the power and promise of our Baptism and Confirmation.
The Holy Spirit convinces us of the right when we do what is right, convicts us of wrong when we do wrong. The Holy Spirit points us to what is morally right. The Holy Spirit is our compass, our moral radar, our spiritual sonar. The Holy Spirit is at work in the life of every believer.
The third piece of equipment the Lord gives us beside His Word and His Holy Spirit is His peace. “My peace is my gift to you …. not as the world gives peace”.
The world defines peace as the absence of conflict. Popular culture says to find peace we must go somewhere exotic, buy something expensive and ingest something to dull the senses. These lead only to temporary distraction from our problems, not to resolution. Jesus’ peace is different from that because it is peace on the inside. The peace that Christ gives is the tranquillity of order within, no matter what is happening on the outside. This peace is there for every one of us.
The equipment we have from Jesus Christ to deal with any crisis consists of His Word for our mind, His Holy Spirit for our heart and will, and His peace for our soul.
They are equipment from heaven to handle any crisis on earth. His Word, His Spirit, His peace are Christ’s Easter gifts to every one of us.