“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” These words from today’s Gospel are spoken at every Mass, just before the sign of peace as we prepare to receive the Eucharist. We hear these words so often, that its very easy to gloss over them, without really thinking about what they mean, or why they have become a part of our Liturgy.
When we think of peace, the first thing that comes to mind is often the absence of conflict. Peace in this context seems very temporary and conditional. We may even find it difficult to achieve lasting peace, if the circumstances of our lives cause us to face many trials and difficulties. That is why the next words of this passage, which are not used in the Liturgy, are so important.
Jesus says “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Jesus offers us a peace that is not temporary, and that is rooted in the Gift of the Spirit that is promised to the disciples. The Gift of the Spirit helps us to remain focused on our relationship with God, even amidst the uncertainties and troubles of this life. The peace that God gives to us reminds us that the trials of this life are only temporary: the peace that the Lord gives endures forever!
In times of difficulty, we call upon the Holy Spirit to strengthen our hope, and to remind us of God’s promises to us. This is an important thing for us to remember as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost in two weeks. As we near Pentecost, we will begin to hear more about the Holy Spirit in our Scripture readings. We ask God to renew the gift of his Spirit within us, so that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we may continue to build up the kingdom of God, and renew the face of the earth.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB