17TH MAY 2022
Readings: Acts 14:19-28/Psalm 145:10-12, 13ab, 21/John 14:27-31a
INTRO/EXPLANATIONS: In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives the disciples His Shalom. He tells them not to be distressed or fearful due to the situations in which they might find themselves. In effect, in his Last Supper discourse, Jesus gave two gifts to his disciples, namely, the GIFT OF PEACE and the GIFT OF THE CROSS leading to glory. The Gospel pericope refers to the gift of peace as one which is given to us by the Lord for our own good. Pope St. Paul VI says, “True peace must be founded upon justice, upon a sense of the untouchable dignity of man, upon the recognition of an indelible and happy equality between men, upon the basic principle of human brotherhood.”
In Israel, at the time of Jesus, wishing a person peace (Shalom), was, and still is, the usual form of greeting among the Jews and the Arabs. Shalom is a right relationship with God and with others. Arabs wish each other saying “Islam Alikum” in Arabic, meaning peace be with you. And the response is “alikum Islam” (and also with you). It is in line with this that Moses instructed the Israelites to bless others with God’s peace: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:22-26). “Peace be with you!” is the greeting which Jesus used, and which the Apostles continued to use. Hence, the Catholic Church uses it several times in the liturgy. Peace is one of the greatest Messianic gifts to humanity. St. Paul tells us that peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Jesus repeats his promise in today's Gospel, saying, “My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.”
FOR US TODAY: In all things and in times of trouble, we need to be strengthened the spirit as we adhere to Spirit-filled exhortations in order to persevere in the faith, just as Paul tells the faithful of Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” We are invited to live in this peace wished by Jesus the Lord. This requires that we be reconciled every day with ourselves, with our neighbours, and with our God - peace of mind and body and peace with the environment. Reconciliation with God demands that we obey His commandments, repent every day of our sins, and ask God’s forgiveness. Reconciliation or making amends with others demands that we forgive others for their offenses against us, and that we ask for their forgiveness for our offenses against them in words and deeds. Reconciliation with ourselves comes from our grace-given humble recognition of our weaknesses and failures and our grateful acceptance and use of the Holy Spirit’s loving gifts to us of deepened love and trust that God loves us in spite of these weaknesses, forgives us our sins when we repent, helps us to do better, and uses our weaknesses to bring us closer to Him, and to demonstrate His own Love and Power working through us for His glory.
Let us pray for peace in our hearts, minds, families, workplaces, schools, in our churches and in the society at large. Jesus knew that He will not physically be walking with His disciples as He had done for the last years in their shared life on earth. Yet, He knows that He will be with them in and through His Holy Spirit. St. Paul also knows that he and those whom he has brought into the family of God will always be united in the Spirit, even if they might not ever see each other again on earth. By our faith, we are also told not to be scared during the troubling times we have experienced, because God will see us through. God is still with us. May the Lord bless us with an everlasting peace that is not negotiated but that natural peace that comes from the Holy Triune God. God bless us!