The Gospel according to John (14:27-31)
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.”
One of the things that definitely changed as a result of the COVID pandemic was the exchange of the sign of peace at Mass. Other than the congregation joining hands for the “Our Father”, the “sign of peace” was probably the one thing that I loved most during Mass when I was still figuring out if I wanted to be Catholic or not.
Since COVID, now it’s not nearly as demonstrative (and of course, that is for good reason), but we are the poorer for it, I think. It’s the one time during the celebration of Mass that we are encouraged to reach out to those around us (whom we may or may not know), and extend peace to them. And, it’s not just any peace, either! It is Jesus’ peace, which as He says far surpasses any kind of peace the world may give to us.
The truth, though, is that peace should live within our hearts. It should be what keeps us calm(er) when life is not going as we wish, and it should be what we feel most deeply when we cooperate with it by loving as unselfishly as we can. During these days of the Easter season, we are particularly called to experience that peace, and above all, to share that peace in a world that has so little of it.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus was reminding His disciples that He was giving them His peace, and that they were to carry it, even when Jesus Himself was no longer physically with them. Those early believers carried that peace, and it has continued down through the centuries to us. May we be instruments of peace in the world today through our kind actions!
Action for the Day:
Take a moment today to center yourself in that peace that Jesus gives each of us. Then, hold onto it as you go through your day, and give thanks for it continually!
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!