May 1, 2016
Dear Parish Family,
Peace is a gift which we ask for quite a few times during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. But in what terms do we think about peace? We may think about peace as a period of time in one’s life without any hardship, a time in which all our needs are met. Or we may think about peace as a time without violence or enemies. In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers his peace to the disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” What kind of peace is Jesus giving us? Is it the way we understand it?
This very passage of John’s Gospel is Jesus’ farewell to his disciples. This is not a peaceful time in Jesus’ life. In fact, he was about to face something horrible, his suffering and dying on the cross. It is right before his passion when he offers his peace.
We learned, therefore brothers and sisters, that Jesus’ peace does not cancel out the hardships of life. Instead, Jesus’ peace gives us the strength to endure the challenges we face every day. The disciples received their master’s peace so that they would be able to endure persecution, and even martyrdom, for the sake of the Gospel.
No doubt, peace is a gift that comes from God. Through the worries and concerns of every day life, we easily lose this essential gift. Therefore, it is important to consciously ask for this gift through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We also need to be conscious that our infirmities or hardships in general are not going away. Receiving Christ’s peace, however, gives us the courage to endure them.
Finally, thank you for your generous gift to Diocesan Appeal.
The peace of Christ be with you.
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Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.