“Christ Prince of Peace”
Akiane Kranmarik is a 28 year-old self-taught child prodigy artist who says, from the age of 4, Jesus encouraged her to paint her visions. She has also developed as a poet and composer.
Akiane had a very modest start in the life. She is the third of five children born into a very modest family in Illanois, USA. Her mother is a teacher and her father a chef and nutritionist.
She considers herself a journalist artist exploring and interpreting diverse epochs, cultures and faiths through her art. She says science in the future will be able to reveal codes and encrypted messages she has hidden in her originals. Her work now sells for up to a US$ million, which she uses to support many charities with the proceeds.
This painting was completed by Akiane when she was 12 years old and from her vision of Christ. She and the painting are mystical in many ways: It is not the usual depiction of Christ. Here, He appears a more contemporary man. Akiane’s vision and that of a young boy in surgery both described Christ in Heaven. She has featured in a real-life story about this young boy who while in surgery had dreams of being in heaven with Jesus. The story has been published and portrayed in film: “Heaven is for Real”. The boy’s claims to have seen Jesus were criticised by his community and the media and his father, a lay preacher, was put under pressure to denounce his son’s claims as fiction. The father showed his son pictures of Jesus and the son said none of them were the man he had met until one day he saw Akiane’s portrait of Prince of Peace and he said: “that is the man I met”.
This glimpse of Heaven, fits with the Gospel passage in which Christ calls us to build “heaven on earth”.
John 14: 23-29
23“Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Those who love me will keep my word,
and my Father will love them,
and we will come to them and make our home with them.
24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
and the word that you hear is not mine,
but is from the Father who sent me.
25 I have said these things to you while I am still with you.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything,
and remind you of all that I have said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid.
28 You heard me say to you,
‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’
If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father,
because the Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you this before it occurs,
so that when it does occur, you may believe”.
This passage of the Gospel of John is the conclusion of the First Chapter of the farewell discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper, which consists of three other Chapters. It sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse:
1. The Christian's life is not shaped by the absence of Jesus but by the abiding of the presence of God;
2. The presence of God overcomes anxiety about God's absence;
3. The present holds in it the seeds of a future shaped by love, not by fear.
Jesus is preparing his Disciples for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father.
As our celebration of the Easter Season is coming to an end, next Sunday’s Liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.
Love of Jesus – Love of the Father
The first verses of our passage have a deep Trinitarian outlook: God the Father will show his love to those who love Jesus. What prompts the love of God is the relationship of the Disciple with Jesus. The Disciple will be receptacle of God’s love by keeping His Words.
There is here a beautiful definition of “salvation”: the idea that salvation is just about God bringing the soul to heaven after it has been separated from the flesh, at the hour of death, leaves out a very important point Jesus is making here: God dwells here and now in the life of the Disciple, making therefore salvation present in our everyday life.
This shift represents a Copernican Revolution for the life of the Church and for the life of the Christian. The principle of winning souls for heaven takes a more incarnational understanding, an understanding supported in the context of the entire Gospel message. Jesus taught us to pray: “may your kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. The will of God is therefore, that we make of this earth something more like heaven. That salvation transforms now and here the lives of the believers and through them, the entire creation.
By contrast the Gospel affirms the opposite as well: failure to listen to the Word of God leads to the absence of love for Him. Each individual is thus responsible to decide either love Jesus, and the Father, or ignoring listening to the Word of God and experiencing the absence of God.
The Holy Spirit
The term Paraclete (Advocate) comes from the Koine Greek word paráklētos (παράκλητος). A combination of para ('beside/alongside') and kalein ('to call'). The word Parakletos is a verbal adjective, often used of one called to help in a lawcourt. In the Jewish tradition the word was used for angels, prophets, and the just as advocates before God's Court. The word also acquired the meaning of 'one who consoles'. The Johannine Parakletos is filled with a rich and complex meaning: the Spirit replaces Jesus, and is an advocate and a witness, but also consoles the disciples.
The Holy Spirit is also a teacher. As a Teacher, the Holy Spirit will remind the disciples what Jesus had said. The New Testament is born out of an existential experience that, on the one hand changed the life of the Disciples of Jesus, and on the other, opened their understanding of the Good News. It is not a mere intellectual knowledge. In New Testament terminology to remind signifies the assent of the will to the designs of God, conforming of one’s life to the Gospel by a new way of thinking and a way of life that is consistent with the Good News.
The words spoken by Jesus in this Gospel will stand even after Jesus has ascended to heaven and is no longer physically with the Disciples. The Holy Spirit will complete all that will be needed for the faithfulness and full development of the Community of Faith.
Christians will have access to the love of God through the outpouring of the Spirit on them. This experience calls for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and with God the Father. The writings of the New Testament give witness to the fruits of the Spirit and the to the powerful energy of this Charismatic experience. The Holy Spirit transforms one’s life and enables us to love beyond even our own capacity.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus bids farewell with the beautiful message and gift of peace, a promise of his continued presence and a sign of the enduring support of the same Holy Spirit. Peace can be an experience common to believers and non-believers alike, but what qualifies Christian Peace, is that this is the Peace given by Jesus. The believer knows that the Peace left by Jesus is not just absence of conflict or difficulties, but a Peace that permeates the heart, even in the midst of them.
“Lord, help me to overcome my guilt,
my shame, and my fear.
Help me throw open wide the doors
to my inmost heart so that my transcendent God
can make his home there”.
“Lord Jesus, we thank you for the word
that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father.
May your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice that
which your Word has revealed to us.
May we, like Mary, not only listen to but also practice the Word. Amen.”
Jesus tried to prepare the Disciples for his departure. Knowing He will be leaving them and understanding what that meant for them personally, were two different things. Today, we have access to the experience of God through creation, through Scriptures, through the action of the Spirit in our hearts and in the Church, through the Christian Community and the Sacraments. What signs are there for me today that help my belief and trust in God?
What does the concept of Salvation mean to me?
o Thinking about the dimension of Incarnation and the indwelling of the Holy
Spirit, can I see how this demands of me a real commitment to take care of creation
and strive for the well-being of others around me?
o Do I recognise it is a call to take care of the environment as Pope Francis calls us
to do in Laudato Si’?
o Is it also a call to cherish relationships between families, communities, countries
and nations as called for in Fratelli Tutti?
Let us pause for a moment to name the presence of the Holy Spirit in our heart:
o Who is for me the Holy Spirit?
o How did I experience the power of the Spirit in my history?
o What is God calling me to today?
o How can I share with others my experience of the transforming power of the
Holy Spirit in my life?
Called to be Peacemakers:
o Do I take the words of Peace into my thoughts and actions?
o Do I truly believe that Peace in the world is my personal responsibility? Can I
pass on that Peace to others?
o Am I sincere when I share the sign of Peace or am I demonstrating the sign but
harboring resentment to my correspondent?
o Have I kept a grudge? Do I try to resolve personal conflicts before I end my day?
Explore the feelings I have when I do make Peace?
More about her and her other paintings can be viewed on this website: About Akiane | Official Akiane Gallery  “Koine Greek, also known as Alexandrian Dialect, or Biblical Greek, was the common form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic Period, the Roman Empire and the early Byzantine Empire. It evolved from the spread of Greek following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the Fourth Century BC and served as the lingua franca of much of the Mediterranean Region and the Middle East during the following Centuries. (Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek)  Job 16: 1-2: “Then Job answered: ‘I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all’”.  Colossians 2: 2: “I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself”. James 3: 13: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom”.