“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
Going through today’s readings, one would find it difficult to reconcile the promise of peace that Jesus talks about in our Gospel passage with the painful experience of Paul who was stoned and left for dead in our first reading. Since the early days of Christianity, Christians have always faced hatred and persecution yet Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you…”
What type of peace is Jesus talking about when he categorically stated that those who follow him must first deny themselves, carry their cross and come after him? Can we be peaceful under the weight of the cross? Can we be at peace when we have to suffer all kinds of humiliations, attacks, betrayal, back-stabbing even from our fellow Christian brothers and sisters?
Dear friends in Christ, if we interpret the peace of Christ with a worldly understanding of peace, we run the risk of getting disappointed. No wonder Jesus added, “not as the world gives do I give you.” The peace of Christ is not one that prevents us from troubles, rather it is a peace that gives us the confidence to walk through the “valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil.”
The peace of Christ does not take away the pains, hurts and persecutions of others, but it enables us to forgive readily and completely like Jesus did on the Cross of Calvary. It is this peace that made Paul decide to continue the mission for which he was stoned, and left for dead. The peace Jesus gives us is not the peace of material comfort but a peace that makes us happy even in our poverty. As Jesus says: “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). In truth only in God can we find rest for our troubled hearts.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may your peace remain with us always. Amen. Bible Study: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145 and John 14:27-31).