With all that we have experienced this past year, being at peace was most likely not at the top of our list. We may more easily identify with fear, or anxiety, or even anger. Peace might well be something we have longed for. This day in John’s Gospel, we hear proclaimed how Jesus appeared to his disciples who were held up in a room, seemingly paralyzed with fear and anxiety because of what they had experienced in the recent past. Then
Jesus appears and speaks an incredibly gentle and caring message:
Peace be with you. And again, Peace be with you.
Can you imagine what that was like for his devoted followers – first, to see Jesus again in the flesh and then to hear his kind words? We can almost hear the anxiety being exhaled by the disciples in receiving this message from Jesus. These were the men who had betrayed him, denied even knowing him. These were the men who had fallen asleep when Jesus asked them to stay with him in the garden of Gethsemane as he prayed to his Father. Surely, Jesus would not be happy with them.
Yet he greeted them with tenderness and words of peace. In doing so, Jesus continued to teach. He taught that even in the tough times, when we might not make the best decisions, he will not leave us. He will be there to comfort and console us. He will be there to bless us with peace of mind and heart. He will love us always.
That is what we celebrate as an Easter people! Jesus is alive and he is with us for all time. Our faith in him gifts us with a “new lease on life”. We are saved from the destruction of sin. Our sins are forgiven. We, too, can receive the gift of Peace.
What can we do but rejoice and sing alleluia? What can we do but share the Good News? What can we do but be grateful for the gift of salvation and eternal life with God?
Celebrate these seven weeks of Easter and let the Peace of Christ be with you.
With joy in the Risen Christ,