Close the Eyes of Reason, Cast Yourself on Christ and Cling to Him

Easter 2 Tuesday

John 20:19-20

“But on the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered and the doors locked out of fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: “Peace be with you.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and side. Then the disciples became glad that they were seeing the Lord.”

 

Where does the Christian peace come from that is calm in the midst of adversity? It comes from faith in Christ. For when I wholeheartedly believe in the Lord so that my heart can sincerely say: “My Lord Christ overcame my distress, sin, death, and all evil by his resurrection and wants to be with me so that I shall lack nothing in body and soul so that I have enough of all things and no misfortune may harm me” – when I believe this, it is impossible that I can despair and be timid, no matter how sin or death oppress me. For faith is always present and says: “If you sins oppress you; if death frightens you, turn your eyes to Christ who died and rose for your sake and overcame all misfortune: What is there to harm you? What do you want to be afraid of?” Likewise, if some other misfortune assails you, e.g., disease or poverty, turn your eyes away from it and close the eyes of reason and cast yourself on Christ and cling to him. Then you will be strengthened and comforted. No evil you may encounter is so great as to hurt you and cast you into despair if you look to Christ and believe in him. This is why it is impossible that this fruit should be lacking: Where there is faith, this peace will follow. Another fruit follows from peace, as is here written in the gospel where Christ came to the disciples and said: “Peace be with you,” and showed them hands and feet. Then they became glad that they were seeing the Lord. Indeed, they had to become glad because the greatest joy a man’s heart can experience is seeing Christ. In the past, we were taught to look to our hands, that is, we were taught to trust in our works. No gladness resulted from this. But we do become glad when we see Christ. And this happens by faith, for this is what St. Paul says in Romans 5:1-2: “Now that we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access in faith to this grace in which we stand and boast in the hope of the future glory God will grant.” Thus, we have the fruit by which we are recognized as true Christians. For those who do not have peace where the world has nothing but unrest; those who are not glad where the world has nothing but sadness and grieving – those are not yet Christians and do not yet believe. This is what we sing at this time in the hymn concerning the resurrection but no one understands it. But the person who wrote this hymn had a correct understanding of Easter. For he does not leave it at the Lord’s resurrection when he says: “Christ is arisen from the grave’s dark prison,” as if that were enough. He also drives it home to us by adding: “We now rejoice with gladness.” But how can we rejoice in him when we do not get anything out of it and it does not become ours? Therefore, if I am to rejoice in him, it must be mine, so that I may regard it as my own possession so that it may benefit me. And finally, he concludes the hymn, “Christ will end all sadness,” so that only Christ’s comfort may give us joy in all misfortune. He himself alone wants to be that comfort, so that we may in all misfortune cling to him. For he overcame it all for our benefit. And by his resurrection, he comforts all frightened consciences and saddened hearts. This is what we have in this gospel concerning faith and its fruits.

 

St. Louis ed., 11:728-729.

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