Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Jesus is preparing to leave the disciples and ascend to the Father. And as he prepares to leave them, he offers the same parting words with which he greeted them right after the resurrection: peace be with you. Only this time, there is more emphasis. Jesus is giving them his peace, for now and for always. With the peace that Jesus gives, the disciples will not be troubled of heart, nor will they be afraid. He gives them the advocate, the Holy Spirit, to comfort and guide them. And they will need Jesus’ peace as they continue Jesus’ mission in the world. They will face even greater persecution and hardship. Many of them will be martyred. Jesus’ peace will be with them as they undertake the arduous mission ahead.
As we face life’s many challenges in our lives, and in our mission and ministry in the world, we might wonder how can we find the same peace that Jesus gives the disciples. It is Jesus’ promise for us too. But we can get mired in the quicksand of responsibilities, fear and doubt, unable to see a way out. We can lose hope, lose heart, lose peace, and get lost on the way.
To help us centre on Jesus and the peace that Jesus gives, we can learn the spiritual practices of contemplation and meditation. In silence, we focus on our breath, and get in touch with our bodies and ourselves. We silence the world around us. We can do this by disengaging from social media, news, radio, television, internet. We could give ourselves some time set aside each day. Start with five minutes, then increase that to ten, twenty, even thirty minutes. Set a gentle alarm and then settle into and be silent and still in that time. This can be time set apart each day allow space to live into the peace that Jesus offers.
This contemplation and mediation may be difficult at first. The mind wanders to many topics. But over time, the ebb and flow of other thoughts can drift in then we can let them go. We will learn to still our minds, praying for Jesus to give us his peace today. And when we do not know how to cope, when struggles and worries fill our minds, we will have that time set aside to centre and ground ourselves on Jesus’ peace, on Jesus’ love and grace. A brief time in each day to dwell in God’s love and grace, given for us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of peace, we pray for the self-discipline to give ourselves time set apart to focus on Jesus’ peace, love and grace. Encourage and empower us to take this time in contemplation and meditation in the midst of pandemic, in the midst of other responsibilities, worries, fears, and doubts. Grant us Your peace, Your calm, we pray. May all that we are, and all that we do flow out of the peace that Jesus’ gives to us. For we pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.