5TH WEEK OF EASTER
1st Reading: Acts 14:19-28
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 traveled 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.
Gospel: Jn 14:27-31a
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.”
MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU: In the wish-list of most conscious people, happiness and inner peace would be top in the list. Peace is the promise of the Risen Christ. At every Eucharistic celebration we acknowledge Christ’s promise of peace. Inner peace, in one sense, is the absence of trouble and fear in our hearts. In another sense, inner peace is the result of being in His love, just as He has remained in His Father’s love and has followed the will of the Father. The Eucharistic celebration and the Holy Communion offer us the possibility to experience the love of the Father, in the Son, through the Spirit. It is so telling that the prayer for peace is said just before Holy Communion. May the Communion we share today, bring us inner peace and true happiness.
Prayer: Lord, look not on our sins, but on our faith, and graciously grant us peace!
PEACE AND JUSTICE: In our society, it is norm that peace is achieved through the power of weapons. Our world is immersed in an unending arms race. Countries suffer long lasting conflicts among different ethnic groups, political parties or even religions. To solve them, the international community has decided to send `international peace keeping forces´. In these cases, peace is not the achievement of dialogue and consensus; rather, it is an imposition of an external force which provokes the delay in the real achievement of true and lasting peace, so that when those forces leave the country the conflict is reignited. This is the peace that the world offers. Jesus´ peace comes through the breaking of the bread, the breaking of his body. Love is the way towards peace. Sharing our future together means: acceptance of the other, dialogue, consensus and solution which reflects the just claims of all parties.
THE ULTIMATE SEARCH: We are in a constant restless search for peace and happiness. Knowing this, Christ’s first gift to his disciples after his resurrection, is in answer to this search. He gives the gift of true peace, not just the temporal absence of violence. True peace comes from God. It is the wholeness, the Shalom given through the Spirit. It abolishes all fear and the sense separation from God. “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” for we have the gift of transcendent peace that carries with it all other forms of serenity. Despite the challenges posed by the ruler of this world “Satan” the power of Christ reigns. This is seen when Jesus goes to the cross to prove to the world that he loves the Father and is totally obedient to his will. Christ has already won for us the peace and freedom for which our hearts yearn. Our part is to embrace this gift of true peace by imitating him and putting into practice what Christ has taught us and commissioned us to do.