Sunday Reflection - Sixth Sunday of Easter
Posted: Sat, 21 May 2022 16:57
As we continue the beautiful priestly prayer of Jesus, today we focus on something that is so needed in our world right now:
Peace, I leave you my own peace I give you. —a peace that the world cannot give you. (Jn 14:27)
From the horrors of the Ukraine to the rows between siblings, we are all too aware of the lack of peace in our lives. Biblical peace or 'shalom' is not just the absence of war, the peace of Jesus is one of perfect well-being that can only be brought about by total union with God. As we saw in the clearing of the Temple, Jesus sometimes has to make waves in order to bring about peace. I well remember a situation of injustice that I came across some years ago in ministry. The easy way out would have been to 'keep the peace' and look the other way—to say nothing. However, the deep injustice demanded action that was bound to cause upset—it did, but it is not good enough to ignore the wrong with a misplaced desire for 'peace'. The call to Christian peace will demand a prophetic heart.
Our hearts have been troubled in these past few years with the onslaught of a global pandemic, and a Ukrainian war that could easily become a global conflict. More than ever, we need the gift of true 'shalom' on our lives. You cannot give money to a beggar on the streets if your pocket is empty. You cannot bring 'shalom' to others, if there is no peace in your own heart. Peace cannot be imposed unless we are open to it. Today might be that needed spur we need to work for true peace.
In the post-resurrection accounts, we do not see Jesus scolding his followers for their lack of faith. Rather, like all true messengers of God's Word, Jesus brings 'peace.' In this simple gift, doubt was turned to faith, sadness in joy, darkness into light, and death to new and eternal life. This coming week is a challenge to be bearers of true peace. It is not going to be easy, especially when we might meet violence and discord. As we try our very best, especially when tempted to meet violence with our own bitterness and anger, these comforting words of the Irish mystic John O'Donoghue in his poem 'For Peace' might help:
As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease.
We pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.
For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.
That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.
That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.
That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.
That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares
And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain
Author: Fr Gerry O'Shaughnessy SDB