The gift of peace!
In today’s world, prey to every kind of torment, to hear the voice speaking about peace seems anachronistic and out of date. Many have even justified unrest and desolation in the world as fulfillment of what Jesus said: I have come not to bring peace but sword, fire in the world.” But this can be understood because Jesus is the Light of the world, and the powers of darkness will never accept the rays of that light come to them. Jesus brought the fire of love in a world where hateful actions and words have become daily bread; fire of unity in a world characterized by divisions of every kinds; fire of solidarity in a world engulfed in selfishness and greed; fire of life in a world that smiles and laughs at a death of an unborn through abortion, or a death of an adult by capital punishment… Jesus brings normalcy in a world turned upside down. That is why He is bringing not peace but fire in order to purify the world from evil.
Now, after His resurrection, because “all is finished,” and he has trained his disciples, girding them for the work that is meant to transform the world, the master word that comes from him is the gift of peace. Jesus knows that his disciples will need it; and they truly need it. From the day of the resurrection until now, there is not a single day that the disciples do not hear and receive the gift of peace from the resurrected Lord. He knows that they are fearful. He knows how much worried they are. He knows how anxious they are and will be at the idea of confronting the world. Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit will be with us to teach us the whole truth about him and our identity as disciples, and to strengthen us for missionary activities. He therefore gives his disciples and all his followers the important gift of peace. The peace that will help them rely on the Lord in time of fear; the peace that will remind them that they are instruments not creators; the peace that will indeed make them aware that they are workers not master builders… That peace, says Jesus, “no one can take from his disciples.” That peace is the expression of his love about which St. Paul says, “Nothing will separate us from.” Amidst the torments of our life, Jesus reminds us and assures us that He is the only one we can and have to rely on.
My friend, as you read these lines, I invite to pause and to close your eyes to imagine the experience of the disciples when Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, giving true peace to the disciples. Imagine that you are in the upper room now with other disciples, hearing Jesus whisper these words in your ears: “Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you.” Yes, He gives that peace now as you prepare to receive Him when He speaks to you in the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word breaks himself into pieces to feed you and the Altar of the sacrifice. He whispers in your ears that all that bothers you is taken from you because of His love for you. All that makes you bend down in distress and sorrow is exchanged with his gift of peace. And now, at the end of this celebration, raise your head and celebrate your salvation. Because the peace he gives you is himself and no one can take Him from you. You are His and He knows you by your name.
And let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.