My Peace I give You
I think we would all agree that there is not much peace in the world today with all the wars, persecutions, terrorism and not to forget all the fighting over Brexit! But Our Lord says in today’s Gospel “Peace I bequeath to you, My own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give.” And we pray for this in every Mass. So peace is more than the absence of conflict. The peace Our Lord speaks of which is peace of soul, we will find only in doing the Will of God in all things, and that’s what holiness is. The peace of the world, on the other hand, is passing and fleeting, but we need that inner peace of soul to make the external peace of the world stable and long lasting.
Striving to do the Will of God will bring us inner peace, but it will not exclude conflict. Growth in holiness and virtue will inevitably be accompanied by interior conflict as we battle with ourselves against evil and sinful desires. It’s true Our Lord told us a number of times He had given us His peace, but let us not forget He also said, “I came not to bring peace, but the sword” (Matt 10:34). This seeming contradiction is because being a follower of Our Lord demands that we struggle and fight against evil. Even the great St Paul said, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:19).
So we fight against our own passions and lusts, but we must also fight against the kingdom of Satan in the world, even if it costs us. There can be no compromise with evil. The peace of Christ is not peace at any cost! Scripture is clear: there are wheat and tares, sheep and goats, those on Our Lord’s right and those on His left – that is the just and the wicked. Whether we like it or not, this is the battle we are all engaged in, and there is no third way. For Christians today, sitting on the fence is not an option. “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matt 12:30).
In the book of Acts (5:41) we read of the Apostles that “they indeed went … rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of JESUS.” This is an example of the true joy and peace we will have in being victorious over evil and by submitting to the Will of God in all things, even if this means some suffering and hardship for now. A crown of glory awaits you in Heaven. This is the true peace which the world cannot give.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC