Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Saint Christopher Magallanes and Companions (1869-1927)

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 4:44-62
Mass: Acts 14:19-28; Resp Ps 145; Jn 14:27-31a

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

It happens that people visit a monastery or convent and comment about how peaceful it is. "Oh," some say, "you must be at peace here." My response on occasion is something to the tune of, "Well, I am here, so it can't be all that peaceful." By way of explanation, I mean that wherever I find myself, whether it is amongst the beauty of creation that surrounds us here at Redwoods, a place where it may be easy to rejoice, "Glory be to God for dappled things"; or in the midst of standstill traffic on baking hot I-5 outside L.A., or I-75 outside Atlanta; or if I am once again overlooked for the promotion I deserve, if I am not living in the peace that Jesus gives, quite simply, I will not be at peace anywhere. (That was one long sentence!) 

In today's Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples and to us: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." The peace that Jesus gives is not just any peace as he goes on to say, "Not as the world gives do I give it to you." Therefore, we might add with Jesus, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." In his homily this morning, Pope Francis explained clearly what Jesus means by peace. First, "The peace of Jesus goes with this life of persecution, of tribulation", like the many hardships that Paul and Barnabas suffered while they were busy proclaiming the good news in today's account from the Acts of the Apostles. This peace, as the Holy Father continued, is "a peace that is deep down, deep down, very profound to all these things. A peace that no one can touch, a peace that is a gift, like the sea that deep down is tranquil, while on the surface there are waves. Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials, all difficulties, all 'tribulations'."

Pope Francis then articulated what this peace of Jesus teaches us: "Peace, the peace of Jesus, teaches us to go forward in life. It teaches us to endure. To endure: a word we don’t understand well, a very Christian word, it means to carry a burden. To endure, to carry the burden of life, the difficulties, the labour, everything, without losing peace; but rather bearing the burden and having the courage to go forward. This can only be understood when there is the Holy Spirit within, who gives us the peace of Jesus."

What does it mean, then, to live in the peace of Jesus? The Holy Father had this to say: "The person who lives this peace never loses their sense of humour. They know how to smile at themselves, at others, even when things are dark they know how to smile at everything … this sense of humour which is very close to the grace of God. The peace of Jesus in daily life, the peace of Jesus in tribulations and with that little sense of humour that helps us breathe easier."

So when we extend the peace of Christ to those around us at Mass, let us extend the peace that Jesus gives and pray with Pope Francis, "May the Lord grant us this peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, this peace that comes precisely from Him, and that helps us to endure, to carry, the many difficulties in life." This is the interior peace that we will live wherever we find ourselves, under whatever circumstances. Living and true God, grant us the grace.


NB. Excerpts from the Holy Father's homily come from Vatican News, www.vaticannews.va, May 21, 2019.

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