Peace Is What I Leave With You
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27-28
The most comforting words in the Gospels are those that Jesus says to his Apostles and disciples in this passage from John’s Gospel, “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” These words come after he has told them about the Holy Spirit, the Helper, “who will stay with you forever.” Those words are meant to give us comfort here and now too, for they express the fact that the inexpressible presence of God is true, real, and certain right now, in this place, in this moment in time.
This peace, this peace beyond the speaking of it, comes not from the world, but directly and intimately from Jesus. The Incarnation of Jesus speaks to the fact that God did not abandon us, even though we had (and still too often do) turned away from him. Jesus’ words in this passage tell us that we can live our faith openly in this world. We can speak of Him and serve Him in our loving actions toward others, with confidence, indeed, with peace. This peace that Jesus has promised us cannot be shaken. If we believe in Him, if we willingly act in the world out of the depths of that faith in him, we can know that we will be supported by the Holy Spirit and this gift of peace that can only come from God.
This is not pie-in-the-sky thinking. We know that life’s difficulties can not be avoided. We know that suffering will come our way for loving as Jesus loved in this world. We do not run from reality; we run to it. Even though we suffer in service to God and our neighbor, we can experience a peace that the world cannot give. That peace is rooted in our belief that God is with us in all things that we do in His name. What else is there to say, but Thanks be to God!