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Gift of peace

Jesus said to his disciples: “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. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, abut the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

In Jesus’ time, the world celebrated the “peace of Augustus” that marked the end of civil strifes in Rome and its provinces when Octavian (later proclaimed Augustus Caesar) defeated all his rivals. It was peace “the world gives,” one sustained by treaties and armies and made at the cost of subjugation. Jesus’ gift of peace is of another kind. It comes with Jesus’ subjugation of sin, death, and the devil, paid at the price of his own life.

In the setting of his farewell at the Last Supper, Jesus is not giving a peace of good-bye. He is anticipating the peace that he will win with his death and glorification. This peace comes with the giving of the Holy Spirit. On the evening of the first day of the week (the day of his resurrection), Jesus appears to the disciples and says, “Peace be with you” and breathes on them the Holy Spirit (cf Jn 20:21-22). The Holy Spirit will inspire and console them, even in the midst of anguish and pain.

Christians will live in this peace in their tranquil conviction that no one and nothing can separate them from the love of Christ: neither anguish, nor distress, nor persecution – not even death (cf Rom 8:35-39).

“Lord, make us instruments of your peace!”

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.