Peace That Reigns
May 4, 2021 (readings)
- Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
- Carey Boyzuck
Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, may your peace reign in my heart; I believe that you have called me to this (cf. Colossians 3:15). Still my mind and still my heart to hear your words in this Gospel and live them out in my life.
Peace of Christ: All of our readings this week take place during the Last Supper. These are Christ’s parting words to his disciples. He gives them not only his words but his peace. His peace will remain with them and carry them through the storm of his Passion and death to his Resurrection. We all yearn for this true peace, and Christ gives it to us as a free gift. So why are our hearts still troubled when we believe that his peace is with us? It could be because we have a worldly understanding of peace. The world says that peace will happen when everything around us is perfect, when we are not suffering, when there is no war in our world, in our homes, or in our hearts. This will not happen until we reach heaven, but Jesus promises us peace now. The peace that the world cannot give is internal, not external. It lives within each of us when we recognize God’s presence there.
Rejoice!: Jesus told his disciples that he was going away from them. How might the disciples have felt about this? Fearful, grieving, confused, disbelieving, anxious, distrusting? Jesus directed them to the emotion they should be feeling: joy. He said that if they loved him they would be rejoicing because he was about to accomplish his saving mission. This was truly cause for rejoicing! Later in the Last Supper Discourses, Jesus came back to this point: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy...I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:20-22). On the very day of his Resurrection, Jesus kept his promise when he returned to the disciples in the upper room: “ Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20). The risen Christ came back to them and reminded them of the peace he had left for them. They indeed rejoiced when they looked upon his wounds. Many times in our lives we experience things that seem like cause for anxiety, fear, or grief. Sometimes events in our lives simply do not seem to make sense. But “we know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). This, too, is a cause for rejoicing.
In the Father’s Hands: Jesus told his disciples of his leaving and returning so they could believe. He tried to prepare them, gently reminding them that what would transpire was what God the Father had commanded him to do. This is the peace he gave them—the peace that comes from understanding that Jesus’s suffering and death was part of God’s plan for salvation. Everything is in the Father’s hands, even and especially the things that are painful or confusing. St. Elizabeth of France said, “ I do not know what will happen to me today, O my God. All I know is that nothing will happen to me but what you have foreseen from Eternity. That is sufficient, O my God, to keep me in peace.” We can ask ourselves if anything causes us anxiety and then place whatever it is in our Father’s powerful, gentle hands.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you are my peace, the true peace the world cannot give. Place your peace deep into my heart and let it reign there, covering all that I do in binding it together in perfect harmony (cf. Colossians 3:14-15). When I am grieving, please remind me of the peace you have given me. Help me be a bearer of your peace into the world. Let me be an instrument of your peace at all times. When I am afraid, help me to trust in you. When I am confused, give me your clarity. When I am anxious, help me to have a childlike trust in the Father’s providence for me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray the Peace Prayer of St. Francis and seek to be an instrument of your peace in a concrete way today.
For Further Reflection: Watch this presentation about peace of heart by author and spiritual director Father Jacques Phillippe: Inner Peace. A wonderful book on this topic by Father Phillippe is Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart.
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