What is it about peace that causes so many of us to long for it? Could it be that longing for peace is a natural part of belonging to God and our desire to be with him? It was “Peace”, remember, that Jesus offered when he first appeared to his disciples after his Resurrection and he said it to them more than once. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” is what we heard from John’s Gospel today. This encounter with Jesus takes place just prior to his Ascension into heaven when Jesus tells them not to be troubled or afraid, for he will come back to them. We can only imagine all of the emotions the disciples had experienced throughout the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, then the news that his body was no longer in the tomb, then Jesus appearing to them on several occasions and now gathered with him once more Jesus is telling them he is going away. In the course of all those events, I can’t imagine any one of them would use the word “peace” to describe how they were feeling. Often in our busy lives we long for some peace; some down time, that we might renew ourselves and our energy level. Peace of this sort may mean something different to each of us and it can be experienced in many ways. How do you envision peace in your life? What does it look like? How does it feel? Where might it best take place? How often in your life are you deliberate in your search for peace?
I believe the peace Jesus speaks of to his disciples is not about quiet – rather about a state of mind and heart that allows one to be relaxed, without fear and certain of how they are blessed and loved. Peace is what Jesus gifts to all of his disciples and by our shared faith, peace becomes our gift. Jesus leaves this earth granting peace to his followers; “[M]y peace I give you.” What a powerful gift to receive the peace of Jesus Christ himself! This is what Jesus gives to all who believe in him; his peace that we might live unafraid and without troubled hearts. Let us together take time to be deliberate in identifying the gift of Christ’s peace in our lives that we might live without fear and wholly convinced of God’s love for us.
Christ’s peace be with you,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC