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The Peace Not Of This World

May 12, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By Fr. JAMES ALTMAN

Dear family, when you depart from every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass you should have within you Peace.
Not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace. When the storms of the world threaten to sink your boat, when you try to step out of it in faith and start to sink, when it looks like all is hopeless and lost, when you are being stoned to death by life itself, you should be at peace — not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace. We are reminded of this at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Here’s a quick aside. After almost four years of beginning Sunday Holy Sacrifices of the Mass at St. James by clanging the “dinner bell” in back — I think it literally was the “recess bell” from way back when the nuns ran the school — a kind donor bought the parish some sonorous chimes to replace it.
Every single time I had to ring that dinner/recess bell I had resolved the change it, but every single time I forgot about it in the midst of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It did not matter how ugly, sharp, and piercing was the clang of that dinner bell, I kept forgetting to change it.
Now watch. When I speak of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, this is what I do not say. I do not say “I’m going to church.” Dear family, there are a lot of churches out there. So let us be clear on this, Catholics are not going to church. Unless I slip up, I also do not say: “I’m going to Mass.” No, dear family, we are not going to Mass. We are going to The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The. Holy. Sacrifice. Of the Mass.
If we would stop being sloppy about it, and if we would practice saying it correctly, we would inspire others, and be instilled with a deep abiding sense within ourselves, of what we are doing here in the first place. Let us not be a clanging dinner bell — I’m goin’ to church — because if all I’m doing is going to church, there may be days when I don’t feel like going to church. But, if I’m going to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — where I receive Grace in Word and in Sacrament — Grace in Sacred Scriptures — not just The Bible, but Sacred Scriptures — and Grace in The Holy Eucharist — not just Communion, but The Holy Eucharist — then we never will feel “like I don’t feel like going to church.”
Words matter, dear family, words matter. Therefore, if baptized Catholics everywhere started going to The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass instead of just going to church, belief in the Word of God and belief in the Real Presence of God — Jesus in The Holy Eucharist — will quit dropping off the cliff, will not be dropping to only about 20 percent of the baptized.
Words mean something, dear family, and what we call what we do — means something. For example, I understand that until that 1950s TV show I Love Lucy came along, we always referred to women who had conceived a baby as being, in essence, “with child.” Then, as I understand it, that was the first TV program to inculcate us with a new common phrase: pregnant.
The difference in words makes all the difference.
We don’t know the motivations for the word change with I Love Lucy, but think of it this way: If I only am pregnant, well then, I can terminate a pregnancy. My body my choice. However, if I am with child — in fact, why don’t we make it clearer with capital letters — if I am BEARING a CHILD within my womb — oh, it’s a lot harder to reach a decision to terminate my child, to terminate, to kill the child within my womb. Suddenly it is not just my body. Suddenly it is my child’s body too.
Words mean something, dear family, so we better start using the right ones.
Which is why — back to our original topic — when you depart from every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass you should have within you — Peace — not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace.
When the storms of the world threaten to sink your boat, when you try to step out of it in faith and start to sink, when it looks like all is hopeless and lost, when, like St. Paul in Acts, you are being stoned to death by life itself, you should be at peace.
And we are reminded of this at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass right after the Consecration. There, the priest prays those very words of Jesus. So here, in a nutshell, is a perfect example of not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace.
The world gives peace by and through some external thing. The world gives an “If — Then” peace.
The world is like: If something happens, then I will have peace. We can replace the word “something” with any of the “solutions of the day,” with any of the false propositions in our day.
Let us ask ourselves a simple question. Did any of the rioting, looting, burning, and shooting we have seen over the past year and a half bring peace to anybody? Did it bring peace to the hundreds of businesses destroyed without insurance coverage? Did it bring peace to the millions of law-abiding citizens who have been jeopardized by the anarchy of the left-wingers who keep repeating the anarchist motto: “Defund the Police”?
As an aside, there is a famous line in Shakespeare: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It genuinely has nothing to do with the idea that lawyers are bad, but that lawyers maintain civil order. To kill the lawyers means to promote anarchy. Similarly, “defund the police” has nothing to do with fake news on police brutality and everything to do with destroying our civilization and giving the socialists free license to assert real police power over the populace.
So, do we really think defunding the police will bring us peace?! Is that something Jesus ever suggested — create anarchy to bring peace? Dear family, we go to The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass precisely because this is the means given to us by Almighty God to receive the peace Jesus gives. That is why the priest prays, at every single Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
“Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles: Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever.”
And it is why and that is how St. Paul had such inner peace as shown in Acts that after they, quote: “…stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead,” the next day he got up and went right back into the city.
If we are going to survive — with faith intact — in the weeks and months and years ahead, we must immerse ourselves in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let us, then, always and very consciously, abide in Jesus found in His Word and in His Sacrament. That is the way — the only way — for us to really have the Peace only He can give.

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