“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.” (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 even after he had been 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 poverty. 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.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 5th week of Eastertide Bible Study: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145 and John 14:27-31).