“Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”
Last Sunday, the 6th Sunday of Easter, we heard this message of Jesus so loud and clear. I believe it is a very fitting message for all of us and for all the world today. We are aware of the war going on between Russia and Ukraine, we are restless as a country because most of us are not happy with the results of the recent elections, there are even families who are faced with a lot of problems and each one of us are wanting to shout it all out.
Peace seems to be reduced to just a part of a fairytale. Peace seems to be really unattainable in this earthly life. The sounds of guns and cannons are all over the warring countries, and the cries of the affected populace are an addition to the noise that these sick leaders had created for their own people. The Filipino people, I believe, may not say a word but in their hearts, they are crying for justice. A lot of families in our midst are just simply doing their routinary obligations for the other members, perhaps in silence, but this is not a guarantee that peace reigns in their homes.
In the gospel reading last Sunday, Jesus clearly refers to two different kinds of peace. The one he calls “the peace that the world gives”, and opposed to that is, “the peace that I can give”. Obviously, the first kind of peace is not peace at all. The world may be at peace when there is an absence of war and other conflicts. The peace that the world can give has not yet been actually given because we can never attain, even that shallow understanding of peace, for as long as our world leaders are not serious in their promise to serve their people. Our Lord is certainly right. An exterior absence of conflict based on terror, fear and abuse of power is not real peace. Unfortunately, that is all what the world can give.
What Jesus calls “my peace” takes on a very different level. It is not about exterior peace, rather it is an interior kind of peace… a “peace of the heart”, a peace born from utter trust in God. A peace with so much serenity even amidst the noise and all the craziness in this world. His peace is the kind of peace that empowers a person to face anything, even death, with a peaceful heart. Such a peace is necessarily beyond the comprehension of human nature left to itself. He calls it his peace, for only he can transmit this peace to the heart of his disciples. He does not only wish it for his disciples to possess. Rather, he gives his peace to them! He is the Prince of Peace. He can dispose of peace as a king can dispose of a treasure. So, he can dispense peace to his followers.
There is a condition that must be fulfilled for such a “peace of the heart” to rule our lives, though. We must love him and keep his word in all the circumstances of our lives. This may not be that easy, but doing so is just a very small price to pay for experiencing the real peace, the peace that can conquer even the whole world, the real peace of the heart.