Tuesday in the 5th week of Easter
Saint for the day: St. Peter of Tarentais (c. 1102-1174)
“Peace I give to you. My peace I leave with you…”
These words of Jesus at the beginning of today’s Gospel continue, “… not as the world gives peace … let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
These are comforting words but we can’t forget the first reading for today’s liturgy where we hear of the struggles the early church had in spreading this “gospel of peace.” Paul gets stonned and left for dead. Where’s that “peace” that Jesus is talking about? I think the answer might be in the second part of that quote above: “not as the world gives…”
We don’t have to look very far in any direction of our world today to see that “what the world needs now is real, God-centered PEACE!” And I think it has to be a peace that comes from within and not a peace that is imposed from outside of us.
Whatever Paul and the other disciples had that gave them courage to preach in spite of persecution didn’t come from anything that they mustered on their own. It had to come from God as a result of their focus on the Resurrected Jesus.
How many of us would be able to hold on to that saying of Jesus, “Let not your hearts be troubled…” if we were stonned and shipwrecked like Paul and left for dead? Most likely we’d be like that great, English Dominican Preacher, Father, Vincent McNabb who, when asked what he would do if faced with persecution said, "I'd probably deny the faith immediately!"
Most of us don't look for situations in our lives that give us pain and struggle. Today’s “saint,” Peter of Tarentais, ran away fom his bishopric and hid in a monastery but was eventually found and brought back to serve our his term as Bishop.
We have to remember that God doesn’t try to find ways to “test” us but we all have struggles with what “the world” dishes out. And the only way to find that “peace that the world cannot give” is to focus on the “Prince of Peace, Jesus.” It’s Paul’s awareness of who Jesus is that gives him the strength to endure suffering and persecution. So, in the end, our prayer must be the “Jesus Prayer,” “Jesus, Lord, Jesus: Savior of the world. Save me!” Amen!
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The very Rev. Fr. Lewis Mary Shea, OP was a Dominican friar from the Chicago Central Province of St. Albert the Great,...
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8