The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace

Geremia1Christ the King

Sunday we celebrated the feast of Christ the King; it is, of course, intimately bound up with the feast of All Saints on November 1st, and with All Souls on November 2nd.  Christ the King holds sway over the saints in glory (the Church Triumphant); over us who make our pilgrim way in this valley of tears (the Church Militant); and over the Holy Souls who, from their place of purification, yearn to behold His Face in light (the Church Suffering).

An Eschatological Season

The traditional date of the feast of Christ the King (the last Sunday in October) opens the final phase of the Church’s Year of Grace: an eschatological season, focused on our true home in heaven. “Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

Twenty–Third Sunday After Pentecost

Given that, on the feast of Christ the King, we merely commemorated the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, today we shall have the full Sunday Mass and so not be deprived of its riches. The Introit, taken from the book of the prophet Jeremias, is a message of reassurance and of hope. It is Christ the Lord Himself who speaks, addressing us:

The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places. (Jeremias 29: 11, 12, 14)

Monsignor Knox translates the same Introit a little differently:

Peace, the Lord says, not suffering, is the lot I send you. I will listen when you cry out to me, and bring the scattered exiles home.

Peace I Leave With You

Immediately, one relates this Introit to the words of Our Lord in the Cenacle on the night before He suffered: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

In the Introit, Our Lord promises us peace, and assures us that the designs of His Heart upon our lives are designs of peace, not of affliction. “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever: the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 32:11). Not only does Our Lord promise us peace; He further promises to bring us out of all the places of our captivity. What captivity is this?  It is the captivity of sin. Sin alienates us from ourselves as God would have us be. It is by prayer that come back — to God and to ourselves.  “You shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places.” (Jeremias 29: 11, 12, 14)

He Will Bring Us Home

If, out of the places of our captivity, we cry to the Lord, asking Him to bring us home, He will hearken to our prayer and, in His own way and in His own time, bring us out of exile and, by His grace, make our fragmented lives whole.