‘Peace’ is the first gift of Jesus to His early disciples after the Resurrection. Jesus knew the disciples and their status of life before the Crucifixion and as well as after the Resurrection. The hopes and dreams of the disciples were shattered with the Crucifixion. They were dejected because their loving master was no longer with them. What did the disciples need? Jesus gave them what they most needed; the gift of peace. He said to them; “Peace be with you,” “It’s I, Do not be afraid.” Jesus gave to them the gift of Himself, the presence of Himself to rebuild their faith, hope and life. Yet, the disciples were terrified and frightened supposing him to be a ghost. Jesus went on further to assure them that He is not a ghost but is in flesh and bones, He invited them to touch and see the marks of the Crucifixion on His body, He broke the bread, He explained to them the scriptures that foretold about His death and rising and He accompanied them in every step of their lives.
Jesus did rebuild the faith, hope and life of His early disciples. We too may be dejected in life specially around this time of Covid-19 pandemic that has disturbed the rhythm of our world, when life and activities are limited to home for most part, when social or physical distancing is at place, when uncertainty, fear and chaos all around us. Jesus comes to us with the same gift and message “Peace be with you,” “Do not be afraid,” “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Never forget, “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song” (St. Augustine of Hippo). Just as Jesus offered Himself to early disciples, He offers Himself to us; He offers His presence, His love and grace to us. Therefore, ‘Peace’ is not the absence of trouble, sorrow or pain but the presence of God in our lives, of His love and grace that will lead us through the troubled times and through our daily life. As members of the Church and as a real Church, we are called to share in the burdens of our fellow humans, but we do so with the recognition of what God-made-man has already done for us. However heavy our loads, we have hope in Christ who shouldered all of our burdens and sacrificed Himself for our sins. We share the grief of others because Christ has shared in our grief; but we must also share the hope and joy that we have in Him. Jesus will cast out every fear and anxiety from our hearts. God is at work and He will not abandon us.
Peace be with you.
Fr. Manoj Xalxo, OFM