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THE PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 1st Week of Advent, December 04, 2014
Isa. 26:1-6, Ps. 117, Matt. 7:21, 24-27


Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.

 

"Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee" (Isa. 26:3).


We all want peace, especially peace in our heart, spirit, and mind, peace with ourselves, and peace with God. God sent us a Savior who is the Prince of Peace. He was sent into the world by the Father to bring peace on earth, peace with God, peace among peoples and nations, and peace in our hearts.


Isaiah tells us that "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" (Isa. 53:5 KJV). That is, he suffered the chastisement of God for our sins to bring us the peace that we so long for. What destroys our peace is our sense of guilt for our mistakes, errors, and sins, even for very small sins. But the Father sent his Son to suffer this pain, caused by our sins, instead of us suffering it. When we believe in him, put our trust in him, and invoke the merits of his death on the cross in reparation for our sins, instead of the pain and depression of guilt, he gives us his heavenly peace.


To obtain this peace we have to repent of our sins and errors, leave them behind us, confess them, and put our faith and trust in Christ, invoking the merits of his death on the cross in reparation for our sins, and begin to live a new and righteous life. When you do this, "the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).


"The chastisement of our peace" (Isa. 53:5 KJV), which was on Jesus Christ on the cross, justifies and makes righteous all who believe in him, and brings God's heavenly peace into our hearts. Because he suffered our chastisement, which we should have suffered for our sins, we are made just and righteous when we put our faith and trust in him and in his saving death for us. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1 KJV). This peace is a heavenly peace in the depth of our heart that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7).


Truly Christ brings us peace, the peace of God himself in the depths of our being, not a merely superficial peace, such as the world gives. Jesus told us, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27). His peace comes to us from his death on the cross, and is received by us through faith. Through him God reconciled the world to himself, "making peace by the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:20).


In the world we will have conflicts, but we can endure these because in Christ we have God's peace in our hearts. "I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). If we lose this peace by sinning, we can recover it by repenting again and taking refuge in Christ with faith, confessing our sins. If we continue doing his will, we will live in his peace. "O that thou hadst heakened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea" (Isa. 48:18 KJV). So it is, for "thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee" (Isa. 26:3). And he who brings us this peace is the one to whom the angels sang at his birth, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14 KJV).

 

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