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The Gifts of Christ: His Love, Word, Holy Spirit & Peace.

Updated: May 12, 2023


I - Christ's Gift of Love


I want to look at four things that Jesus promised His disciples - things that make us a difference for us here and now, and later for eternity. Each of them is promised to us by Christ in today's Gospel Reading.


FIRST, as it is written in the Gospel of Saint John 14:23, Jesus promised us, that if we LOVE Him and show that our love for Him is genuine by keeping His Word, that both He and the Father will come to us and live in us. And that they will make Their home within us.

God's promise is that that He will dwell in both our physical temples and churches, but also He will dwell within us. His home is within us. Indeed, God will fill the hole which is located in every person's heart, and Christ will occupy the vacuum that seems to exist at the very core of every person's life. "Behold - I stand at the door and knock" - said Jesus..."if anyone hears my voice and opens the door - I will come in - and eat with them, and they with me."


Think of the number of people who are searching for God, searching for a meaning to their lives, searching for something which is greater or deeper then what they are currently experiencing. Now contemplate that they paused their search briefly and are quietly listening; listening to the knock that is at their door, to the voice that is speaking to them. If they then focus for one fleeting moment, they may come to grasp the reality of Jesus Christ.


The reality of Jesus Christ is that He loves them through His Sacrifice - that God loves them because He created them with love. This is the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. If they are willing to hold onto His Word with the same passion as their initial search for a meaning to their lives, they would discover the happiness and the peace that they are looking for; both inside themselves and in the one's they love.


II - Christ's Gift of His Word

Which leads us to the SECOND thing that Christ gives us; which is His

WORD. We find that word in the tradition of the Apostles, in the Bible and by the other gifts that Christ gives. We find it inside ourselves. By keeping that Word, by following it, by treasuring it in our hearts and showing it in our actions, we do our part to make the promises of Christ come alive in our very beings.


By holding out our hands and taking into us the Word of God - the Word of Christ, we take into ourselves the living presence of both the Father and the Son. Scripture teaches us that the W0rd of God is alive and full of power. Indeed, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us - and we have seen his glory."


When God created the heavens and the earth. He said, "Let there be light - and there was light … He said let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear." And so it was. What God utters does not come back to Him empty or void. As we receive the Word - we receive God. As we live the word - God lives in us and through us. His light is our light, and our light is his light, His path is our path and our path is His path.


III - Christ's Gift of His Holy Spirit


The THIRD thing that Jesus gives us is the HOLY SPIRIT. "I have said these things to you," said Jesus, " while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you all that I have said to you."


The Holy Spirit has a very important job. It not only teaches us all that we need to know and reminds us of what Christ has said, but it also convicts us of our sin. It points out to us what is good and what is bad - and directs our heart to the good - toward faith and trust in the Lord. The Spirit brings our intercessions - our prayers - our sighs to deep for words - to God, and it brings God's Word back to us. It is truly the great Sanctifier. With the Holy Spirit we are made right with God.

Saint Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is the seal and the guarantor of our faith. It also provides us with the Gifts of God which is meant for the Common Good of the entire Body of Christ. It is what effects our union with Christ and with one another. The Spirit serves as our Advocate and our Comforter and it is our source of our visions as well as our font of living knowledge.


The Holy Spirit has a very special purpose and presence in our lives. It works in the lives of believers every day -- most time it works invisibly - silently - and in evidently ordinary ways. But visions still come to believers - knowledge is still imparted and comfort still poured out.


Another way to look at a vision is to say a vision has occurred any time there is a

Clarity of Understanding. That is something that I believe a lot of people have experienced. Suddenly in the midst of a decision, we simply know what to do. We don't necessarily know why we know it, we just do. We look at things in a different light. We experience a vision, and a definite clarity of understanding.


Our Visions are energized by the still quiet voice within. The Spirit speaks and we come to recognize that Jesus is the Lord. The Gospel is at work and God is present. Because of this transformative experience we now possess a new way to see the world. Such revelation appears as a clear perception of the new reality, a vision and a sign pointing us in a different direction. It is more than an intellectual thought; but in reality it is deeper. The Spirit functions within us and around us - bringing to pass what we need and bringing to pass what God has instructed for us.


The Spirit also works in others- bringing to us, through them, the Word we need, the Counsel we seek and the Sign we have been looking for. It is something outside ourselves that effects us to our very core and we know that something has touched us, intuitively. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Power and of Truth. The Spirit is given to us, in the name of Christ, to all that believe in Him and seek to follow Him.


IV - Christ's Gift of Peace

The FOURTH thing that Christ gives His disciples is Peace. This gift is quite unique, but it does make a difference to them because it comforts them at this moment of crisis. Jesus tells them on the night that He was betrayed and taken away: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Neither let them be afraid."


This peace that Jesus gives is the peace of assurance, the peace of knowing and the peace of believing. Jesus attaches His gift of peace to something very specific. He attaches it to His death, to His leaving this world, this domain of flesh and blood. Jesus says, "You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I am coming to you". If you loved me you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs so that when it does occur you may believe."


Jesus does not give in the same manner as the world gives. Jesus Christ gives us Himself completely and forever. What we are given today by Christ is not gone tomorrow. It is not used up or finished, or brought to an end, even though to some it may seem to perish.

When Christ takes something from us, as He himself was taken from us, it is taken only so that it can be returned to us in an even better form.


The Peace of Christ which we pray upon one another at every celebration, at every time of worship, at every Eucharist is the Peace of Eternity, the Peace of Certainty, the Peace of Resurrection and the Peace of Everlasting Love. In our mortal lives we don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. By Faith we know that there is One who is returning for us. We know this because of the Resurrection. We know that we are not forgotten and that He has gone to prepare an eternal place for us in Heaven. This is what gives us our Peace of Mind.


Indeed, the future holds much promise, but the greatest promise is this; where we are present, Jesus Christ will also be present. He dwells within us and among us. His Word works upon our hearts and His Spirit moves within our midst. Love Him and keep His Word. The Gifts of Christ will transform you and because of this, you will transform the world.


LET US PRAY: .

Lord God, Help us to be true disciples of Jesus, help us to love Him and to keep His Word. Make us sensitive to the urging of your Holy Spirit, aware of Your Presence within us and within the people around us.

Grant us, The Peace that passes all understanding and can only come from You. And let us also gratefully acknowledge the Gifts You have given us by sharing it with the World.

We ask this in Jesus' name.


Amen


For Morning Prayer on the Sixth Sunday after Easter

Published on May 20th, 2001 {Revised on April 14th, 2023}


© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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