On the heels of Pentecost where Jesus twice proclaimed “Peace be with You” as depicted by the author of John’s gospel, the heartbeat of our worship continues again with Ordinary Time. It is time to put the indwelling of the Holy Spirit theory to the test. My offering here is that while human and social tendencies have and will always gravitate toward the wants and wishes of the individual and tribe, Jesus offers “the Way,” an anti-dote for this social reality.
I won’t spend much time on individualism, except to say we in the U.S. live in an extremely individualistic society at the all too frequent avoidance of or detriment to the common good. Tribalism however has either taken root, or in my opinion revived itself and deepened its roots across all facets of society. A tribal way of thinking is summed up in the phrase “our way or the highway;” little or no debate, circle the wagons, and defend at all cost.
Examples (not an exhaustive list):
Social: Pro-life/Pro-Choice , Pro-gun/Anti-gun, Prowar/anti-war, divisions along racial lines
Economic: Capitalism/Socialism, Have/Have-nots, 1, 2 or 5% versus the remainder of society
Political: Republican/Democrat, Conservative/Liberal, Have a voice/have no voice
Religious: Traditionalist/Evangelical, Ritual/Scripture, One God/Secular Spirituality/No God
If you follow the resurrection appearance of Jesus as laid out in John 20:19-23, I offer the following outline that echoes Jesus and the charism of Cursillo, and therefore serves as an anti-dote to our individualistic and tribalistic nature.
Show up: “….(Jesus) stood in their midst” > be willing to stand in the midst of fear, pain, confusion, hatred, and longing.
Offer up: “Peace be with you.” > acknowledge that things are not as they should or could be, and offer a close encounter with love and understanding.
Take up: “…(Jesus) showed them his hands and his side.” > you have your own crosses and wounds to bear, and be vulnerable enough to give witness to them.
Keep up: “Peace be with you.” > be present again, be real, and aim toward Jesus; make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ.
It is hard to be clueless, cynical, hateful, or dismissive when giving each other a sign of Christ’s peace.
Dn Mick Humbert