Peace Only His Spirit Can Give

John 14: 27-31a
Acts 14: 19-28 / Psa 145

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.
(John 14:27)

Do not be troubled or afraid
If peace may seem so far away,
As Jesus promised when He prayed,
Have faith and call on God today.

(Jesus said): “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 say to 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, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of this 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” (John 14: 27-31a).

Reflection

The hour of painful separation and trials was coming, and Jesus wanted His disciples to remain calm by following His example. He would soon face His tormentors with restraint, meekness and profound courage. Suppressing His own inner turmoil, He encouraged His followers by saying His going to the Father (dying) would be their gain, “for the Father is greater than I.” They would understand His words when the Holy Spirit descended upon them on Pentecost. With little time left, there was not much more He could tell them, only that the “ruler of the world” (Satan) could never claim any victory over His death. Instead, because of His love for and obedience to the Father’s Will, the peace that He bequeathed to His followers would reign eternal.

The brand of peace that our Savior gives is not the kind that we can find in this world. No wealth, security, friendship, influence, or even power in this life can ever give the peace of mind and soul that Jesus is teaching us, and has in fact already bequeathed to us through His Holy Spirit. It is the kind of peace borne out of courage and faith, fueled by a passion to serve, as displayed by St. Peter, St. Paul, and all the other apostles who faced all kinds of trials and dangers (Acts 14:19-28) to spread the Good News of salvation.

How little of this kind of peace remains when some difficulties come into our lives, and we allow the inconvenience to influence our state of mind. One day, our two house helpers (who were sisters) decided to leave us on short notice, at a time when my wife’s two young nieces came for a vacation from Manila. Our daughter decided to return a beautiful pet dog to its original owner. We had wanted that pet in the house, but she knew her mother would be making a big fuss about the mess, so, for the sake of peace, she made the sacrifice. Our daughter had made the wiser choice.

Peace does not always mean the absence of trouble, but the presence of proactive elements of harmony and understanding — words and actions that lead to unity and love, and little sacrifices that diminish if not nullify conflict.

In His will, Jesus left His disciples what they needed most to overcome their fears — peace. This kind of peace is what St. Paul understood so well, “surpassing all human understanding, but guarding our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ” (Phil 4:7). It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes with love, joy, understanding, patience, kindness, generosity and self-control (Gal 5:22). It is giving when our store is running out. It is being happy, grateful for being healthy and alive. It is keeping faith when we cannot understand. It is persevering when all the chips are down. It is forgiving when we are unfairly treated, trusting that our cause is in the hands of a higher Power. It is, after all, the Holy Spirit Who makes peace through us, whenever we share, forgive, and help in carrying the burden of others. It is those who are blessed with such a gift who are truly at peace, because they are God’s peacemakers.

In times of conflict, Lord, help us to promote Your peace with words and acts that lead to understanding, unity and love, as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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