The Second Sunday of Easter ~ 2018 ~ “Peace be with You!”
When Jesus appeared to the apostles after the resurrection, he would greet them with the words, “Peace be with you.”
They were very distressed and fearful, huddled together in the Upper Room behind locked doors. They were sad and distraught that the One they had come to love had been murdered. They were afraid that the religious leaders would crucify them as well.
William Barclay, the Scripture scholar says that “they met in something like terror.” They knew the envenomed bitterness of the Jewish leaders who had plotted his execution and feared they would be next.
They very much needed some peace. So the first thing Jesus says when he appears to them is “Peace be with you.”
Thus, peace is an Easter gift. It’s a gift that we can claim and pray for.
I’m not talking about peace between Israelis and Palestinians or Republicans and Democrats.
We usually think about coming to peace with others. But we have to seek peace within ourselves first.
The question is: How do we come to peace within ourselves? If our mind is racing, if we cannot sit still for a few minutes, then we’re not at peace. Something may be askew in our environment that’s causing us to be unsettled and anxious. Something in our life may be causing us to not enjoy our own company.
But the real problem for many is that we may not like ourselves! We may choose to avoid our own company by watching TV or drinking or going out to a bar or a club to avoid being alone.
Yes, peace is a gift that every one of us needs. Peace within ourselves.
Being able to be calm and peaceful is a good indicator of our soul’s health. We should be at peace. And if we’re not, then we have our agenda laid out for us ~ to find out what’s causing the lack of peace. Usually lack of peace is caused by something going on the spiritual level. We learn to deal with our lack of peace by making deliberate efforts to be alone and to enjoy our own company.
I found this article in the Magnificat liturgical magazine . . , ,
The quest for interior peace is much more than the search for peace of mind. It’s really about something else: opening ourselves to God’s actions. It’s important to understand a simple but spiritually important truth: the more we reach toward peace, the more the grace of God is capable of acting in our lives. Like a tranquil lake perfectly reflects the sun, so a peaceful heart is receptive to the action and movement of the Spirit. Only a peaceful heart is capable of truly loving.
Remaining calm in the face of trouble, uneasiness, and interior disturbances is necessary for God to act in our lives.
And the only time we have good discernment is when we are at peace. When we are preoccupied by worry, disturbed by events in our lives, our emotions can get the best of us and we don’t have an objective grasp on reality—we are tempted to see everything in black and white and question everything in our life. On the other hand, when we are at peace we see life clearly.
We should adopt the following rule of conduct: when a problem has robbed us of our peace, the most important thing is not to solve the problem in the hope regaining our peace, but to regain a minimum of peacefulness , and then to see what we can do to face the problem.
~ Father Jacques Philippe / A French Priest, and a renowned spiritual director
Today’s gospel teaches us that peace is a gift of the risen Lord. We ought to pray for that gift.
I have known both peace and anxiety; I have known a terrible fear that would give me no peace, even though I desperately sought it.
In 1982, I was hospitalized and the medication they on made me want to crawl out of my skin. I couldn’t settle my limbs for more than a couple of seconds. But then, finally, something happened inside my soul — a religious experience I had in a dream — that calmed me as if a terrible storm had abated. From that moment on, I knew what peace is like.
The experience of peace is soul-embracing. You feel free, you feel content and settled. You feel connected with your loved ones, your environment, with God, indeed with the whole universe.
And you feel worthwhile. You feel that your own connectedness helps form the connection with others, with the whole world. That’s why it is so important to be at peace.”
Whenever I used to at preach at funerals, I often asked the question — Would you be content to feel the way you feel at this moment for all eternity? Would you be at peace if God called you to himself in the next moment?
I could sometimes answer my own question and answer: Yes, I would be content to feel as I feel at the present moment for all eternity.
The Apostles were very disturbed after the crucifixion. Their life with Jesus ~ their hopes and dreams for the future ~ seemed to be totally shattered. They were afraid that the leaders would come for them and crucify them as well.
These issues were so strong in them that they could not bring themselves to believe the message that the Women brought them that Jesus had been raised. They were not at peace.
. . . . Until Jesus appeared to them. They no longer had to rely on faith, which was lacking for all of them, not just Thomas. They had to experience the Risen One for themselves.
Then enter Thomas. He is not at peace. He says that unless he puts his finger in the nail-marks and his hand into his side, he will not believe.”
Thomas is honest.
Thomas needed to be convinced. He absolutely refused to say that he understood what he did not understand or to say he believed what he did not believe. There was an uncompromising honesty about him, says our scripture scholar friend William Barclay.
But when he was sure, he went all the way, My Lord and My God,” he proclaimed!
At this point, Thomas is overwhelmed.. a week earlier he had said he would not believe. The truth of it all came home to him, this man so full of mystery, so different from other men—he is the same one they used to be together with, who was put to death a short time ago. And Thomas surrendered. “You are my Lord and my God!” Thomas believed.
But then Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
These words are really extraordinary, according to Bread and Wine author Romano Guardini. Thomas believed because he had been allowed to “see.,” to see the hands and the side and to touch the blessed wounds, yet he wasn’t blessed.
“Blessed indeed are those who have not seen, and have yet learned to believe!” Those who ask for no miracles, demand nothing out of the ordinary, but find God’s message in every day life. Those who require no compelling proofs , but must remain in a certain ultimate suspense, so that faith may never cease to require daring.
And those are called blessed who make the effort to remain open-hearted. Who seek to cleanse their hearts of all self-righteousness, obstinacy, presumption, and inclination to “know better-than-others.”. Who are quick to listen, and are humble and free-spirited. Who are able to find God’s message in the gospel of he day, or even from the sermons of preachers with no message in particular, or in phrases from the Law they’ve heard a thousand times, phrases with no charismatic power about them, or in the happenings of every day life that always end up the same was: work and rest, anxiety—and then again some kind of success, some joy, and an encounter, and a sorrow.
Blessed are those who can see the Lord in all those things!
~ Romano Guardini / Bread and Wine “Believing is Seeing” pp.. 119- 123,
I consider myself a Witness to the Resurrection. I KNOW Jesus lives. He is not just a historical figure who lived in the past. He lives and reigns in the universe today. I KNOW his love for me in the present moment.
I praise and thank God and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord for the gift of his peace
THE PEACE OF THE LORD BE WITH YOU!
And now before you go, a couple of things, first, today is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. It is originally based on the Devotion to the Divine Mercy that Saint Faustina Kowalska reported as part of her encounter with Jesus, and is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church. Jesus associated with this devotion.
And now, here is a powerful song to pull all of this together ~ , Click here.
Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen, and there’s another great song just behind it.
And, finally here are the Mass readings for today. Click here.