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.
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
My morning ritual involves a quick perusal of the headlines of the New York Times. I scroll until I find a story with some semblance of hope. Sometimes it takes until the Arts & Leisure section. Other times it doesn’t happen at all.
The “world” doesn’t come off too hot in today’s Gospel, and I can see why. Our planet seems to be on the verge of catastrophe. Millions of refugees are displaced from their homelands. War continues be waged in Afghanistan, Yemen, and South Sudan. I don’t know the “ruler of this world” to whom Jesus is referring, but whoever it is not doing a very good job.
And yet, amid all this strife, God offers us the gift of peace. It is not a false peace that denies our problems. Instead, it is a reminder that we are created for something more than this world. May we find in this promise renewed vigor to bring as much love and hope that we can to a world that desperately needs it.
—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.
What I would like to leave behind is a simple prayer that each of you may find what I have found – God’s special gift to us all: the gift of peace. When we are at peace, we find the freedom to be most fully who we are, even in the worst of times. We let go of what is nonessential and embrace what is essential. We empty ourselves so that God may more fully work within us. And we become instruments in the hands of the Lord.
—From Joseph Cardinal Bernadin’s A Gift of Peace