Daily Thought For May 12, 2020

The Gift of Peace

Wishing a person peace was, and still is, the usual form of greeting among Jews and Arabs. It is the greeting Jesus used, and which the apostles continued to use, as we can see from their letters (cf. 1 Pet 1–2; 3 Jn 15; Rom 1:7; etc.). The Church still uses it in the liturgy: for example, before Communion the celebrant wishes those present peace, a condition for worthily sharing in the holy sacrifice (cf. Mt 5:23–25) and also a fruit of that sacrifice. On our Lord’s lips this common greeting acquires its deepest meaning; peace is one of the great messianic gifts (cf. Is 9:7; 48:18; Mic 5:5; Mt 10:22; Lk 2:14; 19:38). The peace which Jesus gives us completely transcends the peace of the world (cf. the note on Mt 10:34–37), which can be superficial and misleading and compatible with injustice. The peace of Christ is, above all, reconciliation with God and reconciliation of men with one another; it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22–23); it is “serenity of mind, tranquillity of soul, simplicity of heart, a bond of love, a union of charity: no one can inherit God if he does not keep his testament of peace, or live in unity with Christ if he is separated from Christianity” (St Augustine, De verbis Domini serm, 58).
“ ‘Christ is our peace’ (Eph 2:14). And today and forever he repeats to us: ‘My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you’. […] Never before in the history of mankind has peace been so much talked about and so ardently desired as in our day. […] And yet again and again, one can see how peace is undermined and destroyed. […] Peace is the result of many converging attitudes and realities; it is the product of moral concerns, of ethical principles based on the Gospel message and fortified by it. […] In his message for the 1971 Day of Peace, my reverend predecessor, that pilgrim for peace, Paul VI, said: ‘True peace must be founded upon justice, upon a sense of the untouchable dignity of man, upon the recognition of an indelible and happy equality between men, upon the basic principle of human brotherhood, that is, of the respect and true love due to each man, because he is man’. […] Every human being has inalienable rights that must be respected. Each human community—ethnic, historical, cultural or religious—has rights which must be respected. Peace is threatened every time one of these rights is violated. The moral law, guardian of human rights, protector of the dignity of man, cannot be set aside by any person or group, or by the State itself, for any cause, not even for security or in the interests of law and order. The law of God stands in judgment over all reasons of State. As long as injustices exist in any of the areas that touch upon the dignity of the human person, be it in the political, social or economic field, be it in the cultural or religious sphere, true peace will not exist. […] Peace cannot be established by violence, peace can never flourish in a climate of terror, intimidation and death. It is Jesus himself who said: ‘All who take the sword will perish by the sword’ (Mt 26:52). This is the word of God, and it commands this generation of violent men to desist from hatred and violence and to repent” (John Paul II, Homily at Drogheda, 29 September 1979). The peace and joy which Christ brings us should be typical of believers: “Get rid of those scruples that deprive you of peace. What takes away your peace of soul cannot come from God. When God comes to you, you will realize the truth of those greetings: My peace I give to you …, my peace I leave you …, my peace be with you …, and you will feel it even in the midst of troubles” (St JosemarĂ­a Escrivá, The Way, 258).

Saint John’s Gospel. (2005). (pp. 155–156). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.

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