Tuesday May 17, 2022, fifth week of Eastertide – Tertianship Program Mass
In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they travelled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.
Psalm 145 Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
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,
but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
Jesus’s farewell discourse to his disciples includes a gift of peace. ‘Peace!’ (Shalom) is the normal Jewish greeting and farewell and Jesus uses it when he appears to his disciples after the Resurrection. Originally it meant soundness of body, but it came to signify perfect happiness and the liberation that the Messiah was expected to bring. This wholeness is the aim of Jesus’ mission.
But it is not the peace as the ‘world’ understands it. Peace for Jesus is not simply the absence of violence. It is something much more positive, much deeper. Paradoxically, it can exist side by side with times of great turmoil. It is something internal, not external. It comes from an inner sense of security, of a conviction that God is with us and in us and that we are in the right place.
It is something that not even the threat of death can take away. The peace which Christ gives He calls “my peace.” It is specially His own to give, because He bought it by His own blood.
Peace is Christ’s distinctive gift–not money, not worldly ease, not temporal prosperity. These are at best very questionable possessions. They often do more harm than good to the soul. They act as clogs and weights to our spiritual life. Inward peace of conscience, is a far greater blessing. This peace is the property of all believers, whether high or low, rich or poor.
What He gives the world cannot give at all, and what He gives is given neither unwillingly, nor sparingly, nor for a little time. Christ is far more willing to give than the world is to receive.
What He gives He gives to all eternity, and never takes away.