Today's readings [display_podcast]
What wonderful words of encouragement and consolation we have in today’s Gospel reading: “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.” We can think of all sorts of situations in which these words would be welcome. We have all experienced health problems in ourselves or in those close to us, job difficulties, family problems, and so many more. How wonderfully consoling it is to know that in the midst of the many storms we daily face, our Savior is there offering us peace.
But the peace Jesus offers us in this reading is a bit different from what we might expect. It’s not the mere absence of conflict, nor is it any kind of placating peace the world might offer us. This peace is a genuine one, a peace that comes from the inside out, a peace that calms our troubled minds and hearts even if it does not remove the storm. There is a contemporary song that says, “Sometimes he calms the storm, and other times he calms his child.”
God knows that we walk through storms every day. He experienced that first-hand in the person of Jesus as he walked our walk in his earthly life. He knows our joys and our pains, and reaches out to us in every one of them with his abiding presence and his loving embrace. Just because he does not walk the earth today, does not mean God has left us alone in it. His presence abides in us through the Church, through the holy people God has put in our lives, through his presence in our moments of prayer and reflection, and in so many ways we could never count them all. This peace from the inside out is one that our God longs for us to know, whether we are traversing calm waters or braving a vicious storm.
Our Psalm today responds for us to this gift of peace: “May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.” In our quiet moments in today’s liturgy, we should all take some time to realize the gift of God’s peace.