Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
One of our greatest fears is to be abandoned by those we love, to be orphaned, widowed, left alone. We fear the loss of a parent, a friend, a spouse. Nothing hurts like being left behind. The disciples certainly understood this heartbreak, for Jesus kept telling the disciples that they would “see Him no more.” Jesus was speaking to His disciples, preparing them for His “departure,” His exodus—meaning His death, resurrection, and ascension. Soon they would no longer have Him as they did now. They would no longer see Him, hear His voice, touch Him, walk with Him, or share a meal with Him. But Jesus would not abandon them.
He was going to prepare a place for them: a true and eternal home. He was going take them to be with Him by being lifted up on a cross, buried in a tomb, raised from the dead, and being glorified at the right hand of His Father. He was going to prepare a true home for our humanity in glory. And yet, this going didn’t mean He was going to leave them; He was coming to them in a more profound way. He would send another—a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. And in sending His Spirit, He would be with them more intimately, more profoundly, more fully than even His being with them at a table, sharing a meal. The Holy Spirit would teach them to understand everything Jesus had taught them, and the Holy Spirit would guide them as they shared our Lord’s teaching with the whole world, beginning with Jerusalem, and finally making its way to the very ends of the earth.
Jesus gives them His words, and with His words, His Baptism, His Body and Blood, His forgiveness, life, and salvation. And He gave them peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”—peace given in a way the world could never give them; peace which the would could only understand through the preaching of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. He would no longer be with them in the way they had experienced for the three years leading up to His ascension, but He would not leave them alone. He would be present as they gathered in His name, and He would send His Holy Spirit to them.
In the same way, He promises to be with His Church, and He will never leave us alone. Clinging to His word by faith, you have all that Jesus is for you and all that Jesus won for you. Clinging to His word, you are loved by His Father and are given to call Him your Father, too. Clinging to His word, you have His promised Holy Spirit, given you in your Baptism. Clinging to His word, you have a peace that the world does not give—a peace that only comes through dying and rising with Jesus.
Thanks be to God our Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of abandoning us to our own selfish cravings; rather than leaving us mired in our mindless strivings; instead of giving us over to our base desires, God has given us His Holy Spirit so that we might know Jesus, rejoice to receive His life-giving sacrifice, and be gathered into His Body, the Church. In this way we live through Him, with Him, and in Him—and we also live in love for our every neighbor. By being in communion with God in Christ by His Spirit, we also our now in communion with each other. We are never alone. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.