Reading: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27.
Good morning, happy Tuesday, and many blessings.
In today’s Gospel (John 14:27-31a) Jesus speaks from the depths of his heart to his dearest friends. He is facing into his Passion. He wants his friends to know that he is with them, his father is with them. Jesus’ farewell wish is ‘Peace!’ His gift of peace is not a state, but a relationship. It is the fruit of deeply abiding in him. This relationship will never fail. It will enable the disciples to endure suffering and rejection.
Once again, these are extraordinary and moving words. Jesus speaks of peace and comforts his friends, hours before he is arrested, and his violent and cruel passion begins. Jesus, a political criminal, will be a victim of the pax Romana. This is the 'peace' of the Roman Empire, maintaining law and order. The peace Jesus brings is nothing like this …
Jesus' heart too will be 'troubled', during his moment of anguish, in the garden. But for now, he is the one urging confidence and hope. There is even some humor: 'if you loved me you would have been glad …'. Once again, we are hearing these words in Easter time, knowing that Jesus' trust in the Father was fulfilled. 'You heard me say: I am going away and I shall return'. We are reminded of the lovely image of Jesus, the servant, going ahead of us to prepare our rooms, and returning to bring us when they are ready.
I wonder how many Christians have really come to understand the great fact that peace is our inheritance. Peace is what Jesus has left us. It is fundamental and cannot be taken away from us by any circumstance. That is what He means by, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”
How does the world give peace? If you were troubled and you went to a doctor who was not a Christian and asked him, “what can I do to gain peace?” what would he tell you?
Jesus says, “I give peace right in the midst of trouble, right in the midst of distress and turmoil and heartache and pressure. I can impart peace to your heart right there, and not as the world gives.” Why? Because we can return to that basic relationship we have--“You in Me, and I in you.” Out of that comes the guarantee that He is working out His purposes. He will bring us to the end of the trouble. He will still the storm and quiet the waves. We rest in the boat, content, knowing, “No water can swallow the ship, where lies the Master of ocean and earth and sky.” That is peace.
“Peace I leave with you. [Therefore],” the Lord adds, “do not let your hearts be troubled.” That is addressed to you! It means you do not have to be upset and anxious, weary and worried. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” How?
Do I rejoice in the peace which Jesus gives me? Love changes everything, and my troubles and fears are to be put in their place within the limitless love which God has for me. This is the peace Jesus offers, not a life free of challenges or suffering.