“Peace be to you! Why are you troubled?” If only we could hear, remember and truly believe these simple, comforting words of Jesus… The following brief reflections invite us to look with fresh eyes at Christ’s Easter gift of peace.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to understand, that is, to stand under the shelter of his glorious wounds. Jesus reaches out to the incredulous, terrorized disciples and encourages them to take a good look, and to let their fear and questions dissipate as they tenderly touch him…
Life begins anew for the disciples. Their minds and hearts are bursting. Jesus is different and yet totally familiar. It gradually dawns on them that the events of recent days have meaning and were foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is clear that they are called to preach the good news of repentance and forgiveness.
Each day, these same mysteries continue to unfold in our lives. Despite our failures and ignorance, God’s love is steadfast. (Sheila Brosnan, SC)
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Never be hurried by anything whatsoever; nothing can be more pressing than the necessity for your peace before God. You will help others more by the peace and tranquility of your heart than by any eagerness or care you can bestow upon them. (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, notes on The Following of Christ)
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Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
If you possess God, you lack nothing:
God alone is enough.
– a prayer of St. Teresa of Avila
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… The disciples were upset. They were locked away for fear, fear of being arrested and ending up like the Master. But they were not only huddled together in a room; they were also trapped in their own remorse…They felt helpless, discredited, good for nothing. Jesus arrives and says to them twice, “Peace be with you!” He does not bring a peace that removes the problems without, but one that infuses trust within. It is no outward peace, but peace of heart…
He tells them “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). It is as if to say, “I am sending you because I believe in you”. Those disheartened disciples were put at peace with themselves. The peace of Jesus made them pass from remorse to mission. The peace of Jesus awakens mission. It entails not ease and comfort, but the challenge to break out of ourselves. The peace of Jesus frees from the self-absorption that paralyzes; it shatters the bonds that keep the heart imprisoned…As far as God is concerned, no one is useless, discredited or a castaway. Today Jesus also tells us, “Peace be with you! You are precious in my eyes. Peace be with you! You are important for me. Peace be with you! You have a mission. No one can take your place. You are irreplaceable. And I believe in you”. (Pope Francis, homily, April 11, 2021)