A certain phrase stood out for me in the first reading in the Liturgy of the Word for the Sixth Sunday of Easter. In this reading from the Acts of the Apostles, (15:1-2, 22-29) St. Luke writes that Barsabbas and Silas were sent to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas to deliver a letter to reassure the gentiles that by abstaining only from certain foods and by refraining from unlawful marriage, they will be acting rightly.
The apostles felt it was necessary to deliver this message to the Gentiles. Luke records their explanation:
“Since we have heard that some of our number without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have
with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you
along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul…” (Acts 15;24-25)
So can you guess which phrase stood out for me? The answer is disturbed your peace of mind. In today’s world, there is so much that can disturb one’s peace of mind! Depending upon the broadcast channel you are watching or listening to or the newspapers you read, or even on situations in your personal life, it is easy to have your peace of mind disturbed. How about the rising prices of everything, or the upsurges in the pandemic, or the questions of “fake news,” or climate change, or local crime? The list is long!
What factors make up peace of mind? I suggest that when you decide upon personal definitions of what is right and wrong, you give yourself a base on which to build peace. It also gives you a confidence and, perhaps, a certain methodical calmness. Of course, research and fact-finding are important, along with faith and trust in your sources of information.
We who know Jesus know we can trust the information he has given us. He wants us to have peace of mind and peaceful hearts. In that gospel reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (John 14: 26-27) Jesus, in one of his Last Supper discourses, says,
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—-he will
teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. 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.”
St. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23), tells us that
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
All those fruits truly contribute to our peace of mind. St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans (14:17-18),
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness,
peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to
God and approved by others.
It sounds like peace of mind to me! We will celebrate Pentecost in less than two weeks, but let’s celebrate even now the Holy Spirit’s peace-giving inspirational presence in our lives! The Spirit surely helps me when I write my blog posts, and I am so grateful!
Stained-glass image of the Holy Spirit by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican.
The scripture passages are from the Catholic Study Bible, New American Bible, New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.