Peace of the Holy Spirit

John 14: 27-31a
Acts 14:19-28 / Ps 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, neither let them be 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 Him today.

(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, neither let them be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe. I will no longer talk much to you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over Me; but I do as the Father has commanded Me.” (John 14: 27-31a)

Reflection

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. Paul, St. Barnabas and all the other apostles who faced all kinds of trials and dangers to spread the Good News of Jesus (Acts 14:19-28). At the Greek city of Lystra, the crowds stoned St. Paul outside the city and left him for dead. But instead of getting discouraged or fearful, St. Paul got up and entered the city “and made considerable number of disciples.” His example of courage and determination was a source of great encouragement and peace of the spirit to all the disciples of the faith. St. Paul told them, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

How little of this kind of peace we have when some difficulties come into our lives, and we allow the inconvenience to influence our state of mind. Peace does not always mean the absence of trouble, but the presence of proactive elements of harmony and understanding – in the face of vexations or harassment — words and actions that lead to unity and love, and little sacrifices that diminish if not nullify conflict. This kind of peace of course can only come from the Holy Spirit, given as a gift to those who persevere in prayers and in faith. This is the same kind of peace that our Lord Jesus left to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (Jn.20:19). Then He said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And after saying this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn.20:21-22).

One of our favorite hymns in the Mass starts like this: “Let there be peace on earth, but let it begin with me…” How do we begin to have peace in our heart and soul? First, we must discard all our emotional baggage. Travel light, and you’ll travel far. Forgive all wrongs, and forego all debts (that are hard to collect). Avoid the company of gossips and crass people. Keep a simple lifestyle, and be grateful for the blessings that God has given you. Strive to be as generous to others as God has been to you. And in your gratitude and generosity, be always ready to show it with a happy countenance. A smile never fails to engender peace in one’s heart, and it radiates to others, even to total strangers.

Thank You, loving Father for the peace that comes only from You. Make us worthy to be messengers of peace in our family, community and especially in the marketplace, where peace has become a rare commodity, but where it is sorely needed. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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