by Ed Shurna, Co-Founder of ISP

reflecting with John 14:15-31

At the Last Supper Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit.

“I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to help you and to be with you forever…..peace I leave with you and peace I give you…do not let your hearts be troubled…” (John 14: 16-28)

Jesus spoke these words at the Last Supper to his disciples and what happened shortly thereafter? The apostles fled and hid in fear.  We too hear these words, and our hearts are touched. We see the light, but there are parts of us which still have not seen the light.

We too get scared in so many ways. It may be a health crisis; a loved one may have died; we worry about our finances or the upcoming election; or we are anxious about something happening to our children, close friends, or relatives.

The peace offered by this world is often an escape from turmoil; this world offers plenty of ways to find peace with guns, drugs, alcohol, sex, wealth, etc. On the contrary, the peace which Jesus promised at the Last Supper is not the peace of this world. Jesus’ peace is peace in the midst of suffering and struggle. As we see the Risen Jesus appear to the apostles in the upper room in scriptures of this week of Easter, we notice this new expression of peace is an uncomfortable one. 

We have often heard Jesus’ words at the Last Supper and we know in faith that they are true, but there are parts of us that are still in the dark. We will never be free from all struggle, and so we will always be challenged and often be fearful. At those times, we need to be kind with ourselves and embrace ourselves in those parts that still remain fearful and scared. We are a work in progress. Perfection is not our goal. We need to return over and over to say, “Now I begin again and again and again. We fall down and get up…we fall down and get up.”

Reflection Questions: In what ways have you experienced the peace Jesus offers during times of struggle and turmoil? What does it take for you to have the endurance to fall down and get up again?

Ed was one of the founders of the Ignatian Spirituality Project with his close friend, Fr. Bill Creed, SJ. Ed was a long time Executive Director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and has spent much of his life as a community organizer. He still stays connected to the ISP community. He loves spending his so-called “retirement” with his wife Michelle, as they travel between Chicago and Colorado and other locales to be with kids and grandkids.