On this 6th Sunday of Easter from St. John’s Gospel we hear Jesus utter those phenomenal words:
Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give to you.
Oh, how we DO so want that! But he is also quick to add:
Not as the world gives
do I give it to you.
Jesus’ peace is, then, a fundamentally different kind of peace. We hear every day how the pundits would bring peace to the troubled parts of our world and, of course, these days to our homeland. What we hear most often is that peace in the Middle East will have to be achieved militarily, politically, and diplomatically. Just in hearing these words, don’t you just sense that this would be a peace different or something else than what Jesus promises or understands?
Jesus backs up his promise of peace with:
Do not let your hearts
be troubled or afraid.
What politician or general have you heard say that lately? Or any of the people today who may have recently lost their neighbors, family members, and loved ones to natural disaster or terror—how trusting are they that their country or state will actually do all that it would take to deliver on promises of restoration and healing? But surely some of those victims are relying on the one who CAN AND WILL deliver on his promises of a love and peace that can see them through even the worst of scenarios. Many of the same have gathered in churches to try to make sense out of their loss of loved ones and to be consoled by Jesus’ promises of eternal and everlasting peace. This, then, is the difference between Jesus’ peace and the peace the world cannot give.
Even before Jesus makes his promise of peace, he lays down the foundation upon which his promise is based and actuated:
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything…
It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (of the Father and the Son) that makes possible that inner peace which can last forever and see us through anything. This Easter Season brings us Baptisms, First Holy Communions, and Confirmations. We should pray together that our infants, children, teenagers, and some adults who are the recipients of these sacraments would also be the beneficiaries of this special indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What better gift could they receive to prepare them to be faithful and true in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health—in LIFE!