Let’s remember the setting. We are at the last supper.  Judas, washed feet and all, is on the way back to hand Him over. The cross looms just behind the foreground. Occupying soldiers are ready to flex their Roman muscle at any time, and the disciples are moments away from seeing their friend and leader arrested and running for dear life. So what does Jesus speak to them about? Safety? Protection? Evil? Betrayal? Failure? Defeat?  No, He speaks to them of peace. His Peace.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  And He does not speak of a distant peace in a golden age gone by, nor does he speak of a future peace yet to be realized in days to come. Quite the contrary, Jesus speaks in the present tense: He speaks of Peace now. Jesus is doing much more than simply saying good-bye. He is affirming the gift of peace that is made real for the disciples because of His relationship with them. It is a peace that He can give to them now, even in the midst of their unbelievably precarious circumstance. Even in the midst of life’s trials and difficulties, Christ’s peace can be experienced. The challenge, of course, is to pay attention to our relationship with Christ in the midst of lives that are often hurried, harried, and hassled. In such a context, it is critical for us to engage our world with great energy and vigor, while at the same time carving out priority time for reflection and prayer. No relationship can be healthy if we do not invest time in it. Hence, our need to be intentional and proactive about making time for meditation and prayer in order to cultivate an inner stillness in the midst of busy living. In so doing, we become more able to sense how Christ is present in the midst of the world’s need, and thereby become more able to receive the peace of Christ, even in the presence of great turmoil. Also, we need to understand that His understanding of peace is radically different than ours. What we consider peace and what God considers peace are two different things.  For us, peace means not to have conflict.  But Christ calls us into conflict with the world.  Still, He gives us peace.  A different peace, a peace within ourselves, a peace that only comes through union with Him.  We are not to be troubled.  We are not to be afraid.  Rather we are called to embrace the Lord and His Way.  Then the Father and Son will be with us and make their dwelling with us.  But we are afraid.  We are afraid that if we abandon our pre-conceived notions of happiness we will be left with nothing.  So we work frantically in order to obtain happiness.  But happiness cannot be bought obtained or acquired. It is a huge step for us to trust that only radical union with and surrender to God can bring us true happiness and true peace. An integral part of the struggle of our lives is to come to terms with and live in conformity with the truth that it is only in unity with God and His will that real happiness and peace can be ours. Once we take that step; once we realize that truth, the peace that Jesus gives can truly be ours no matter what turmoil surrounds us.

AuthorCathy Remick