Faith & Life

Jesus, the only source of authentic peace

May 21, 2022

Jijo Kandamkulathy, CMF

Claretian Publications, Macau

6th Sunday of Easter – C                               

JN 14:23-29

Peace is the focus today in the farewell conversation of Jesus with the disciples. At the birth of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the angels wished peace to people of goodwill. Before Jesus suffered the Crucifixion and Death, he offered peace again to the disciples. After the Resurrection, his first greeting would also be “Peace be with you.” That all men should have peace was the main thought in the mind of the Lord.

There must have been a situation of anxiety in those times, for Jesus to respond and console them with the gift of peace. With the Jews caught up in a religion that could not save itself and the country invaded by the Romans, a lack of peace was part of their daily existence. It is part of our existence too.

One of the dangers today is the misunderstanding of what peace is. Silence is not exactly peace. If that were the case, the cemetery would have been the most peaceful place. We need peace between countries and communities, between individuals, and within ourselves. Annihilating the other is one way some seek peace, which only helps escalate violence. The conflicting parties need to sit down and listen to each other, instead of resorting to violence to settle a score.

Some situations of silence are misconstrued as peace. Silence adjudged as peace is not acceptable. Making the powerless or the minority agree with unjustifiable terms of oppression is unacceptable. It is not peace. The purchased silence of the witnesses for a price does not resolve a problem but plants the seeds of war. It is “sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind” (cf. Hos 8:7).

In 2019, the Institute for Economics and Peace issued a report which mentions that five dollars are spent every day per every living person on the planet to maintain peace. This is just for preventing and stopping conflicts between countries and communities. The money spent on peace tourism, online applications and personal coaches is on the increase. An industry is developing in this sector. The scenario tells us that lack of peace and stress are probably on the increase. People are seeking peace everywhere.

But before turning towards others who seek peace, it is good to connect with one’s own inner self if we have the inner joy and peace that we are looking for. There could also be forced silence within ourselves. Our misdeeds that we have not come to terms with. The non-restituted injustice that we have done others. Some people look for peace in all sorts of places and practices without squarely facing the conscience that accuses them. Our wrongdoings have to be addressed, sometimes grieved for, and we must go through the process of accepting our vulnerabilities.

Jesus offers his peace to us. No one would have experienced that peace better than Peter, as he writes, “Leave all your worries unto him, for [I know] he cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). Remember him, inviting all those who are heavily laden to rest with him (cf. Matthew 11:28-30).

The Lord has a way of dealing with the inner conflicts of individuals, that is, taking the people to the source of the problem. When Jesus heals the paralyzed man, he forgives his sins, the origins of his anxiety. When Peter returns to fishing after the Resurrection, Jesus reminds him of his first call to catch people and gives him time to erase all the guilt that he had about betraying Jesus.

During the talk with the woman at the well, Jesus calls her attention to the source of her troubles – her shifting allegiances and relationships. He reminds her that the water of eternal life that quenches thirst forever is eluding her because of her shifting allegiances. Jesus offers her the waters of eternal life, eternal joy.

Our inner conflicts often are born out of other inner conflicts that have not been resolved. Addressing them, accepting them, grieving over them and even forgiving them will let us accept the peace that Jesus offers. No amount of mindfulness meditation and new age gimmicks are going to replace the inner peace one gets in encountering one’s past in the light of the word of God. He puts all our anxieties to rest.

But we need to remember that when Jesus offers peace, it will stay with us only if we are genuinely seeking peace (cf. Luke 10:5). It is time we abandon ourselves to God’s Grace and Peace.