Peace Be With You

by Deacon Lorna Goodison on April 21, 2022

Peace is often viewed as contentment; having enough of the world’s goods to live comfortably. Or we may think of peace as the absence of war and fighting. While worldly peace is fragile, God in Christ offers us an interior peace or serenity that transcends outward circumstances.

Years before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah predicted that Christ would come as the Prince of Peace. In Christ’s earthly ministry He modeled peace, even when being maligned and He was the source of peace that transformed the people’s broken lives into wholeness.  Before His passion and death, Jesus left His disciples with a promise of peace. He said “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (John 14:27) “I have told you this so that you may have peace.” (John 16:33) This promised peace was even more profound than inner serenity. It was about God’s offer of the highest, the supreme goodness of life; a life lived into the goodness of God, unmindful of circumstances. It is the type of inner peace that allowed Paul to be content even when cast into jail.     

In this Sunday’s gospel, the Risen Christ entered the disciples’ house through locked doors on Easter Sunday evening. There He found a space filled with troubled, fearful, confused hearts. Into this scene of turmoil, the Risen Christ spoke His first words to His disciples, “Peace be with you.”  And in case the disciples did not get it, Christ repeated these words three times during their conversations. The Risen Christ's intent was not condemnation for abandoning him in His agony, but to grant the disciples the supreme good, leading them to rebirth into the life of God’s forgiving and reconciling love.  By His powerful, assuring words the disciples joyfully recognized Him. Jesus was the risen Son of God! No longer estranged from God in Christ, but at peace with God, the disciples began a journey of new life in Him. Christ then breathed the Spirit of new life on the disciples and commissioned them to the high calling of spreading the reconciling word of peace through the forgiveness of sins. Because they understood the supreme good into which they were called, the disciples, filled with the Spirit, found inner peace, the ability to remain non-anxious and focused on God’s mission of love, when faced with persecution and suffering (Acts 5:27-32). Inner peace, Shalom, God’s gift of the highest good, overcame even the fear of martyrdom.   

As we continue to celebrate the solemnity of Easter, we exalt the Risen Christ whose peace overcame death. The Risen Lord offers us the opportunity to find peace with God through forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation today, just as He did to the apostles centuries ago. Therefore, when we feel that we are hiding in the shadows of guilt and shame, separated from God because of sin, we listen, as Jesus says, “peace be with you.” When we doubt God’s love or feel afraid or lonely, we hear Jesus’ voice, “Peace be with you.” When we lock Jesus out of our life, He says, “Peace be with you.”   Christ’s living presence remains our source of the highest good, inner peace, hope, and consolation for He is the Eternal Prince of Peace.   

Tags: love, forgiveness, focus, pace, peace be with you, prince

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