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Which Peace Do You Have?

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By Marc Massery (May 24, 2019)
View the readings for this weekend.

View the previous Sunday Scripture Preview.

Sunday, May 26, 2019, Sixth Sunday of Easter
•Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
•Ps 67:2-3,5,6,8
•Rev 21:10-14, 22-23
•Jn 14:23-29


Every one of us spends our lives pursuing one of two things: either the peace of Christ or the peace of the world.

In the Gospel reading this weekend, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you" (Jn 14:27). Though Jesus admits that the world offers a sort of peace, He implies that this worldly "peace" is just about the complete opposite of what He offers us.

Worldly Peace
Worldly peace depends on the lie that the purpose of life is to merely enjoy it. "The peace which the world offers us is the peace of escape, the peace which comes from the avoidance of trouble and from refusing to face things," according to Scripture scholar William Barclay. Over time, our culture has come to believe that escaping the pain of life and pursuing our personal satisfaction justifies sin. Many seek worldly peace through materialism, drunkenness, pornography, immoral sex, or other vices. But not one worldly idol can fully satisfy us. What little satisfaction they bring us passes away rather quickly.

In the end, pursuit of this worldly "peace" inevitably ends in frustration, anger, and despair. In fact, worldly peace — seeking to escape from our pain without regard for basic morality — has led to disorder throughout the world. It's caused us to disregard the needs of the poor, destroy the environment, mistreat the imprisoned, ignore migrants, neglect and even euthanize the ill, disgrace the sanctity of marriage and the family, and worst of all, abort our unborn children. Indeed, the pursuit of worldly peace has ultimately led to a world on the brink of despair.

Peace of Christ
In opposition to the lies of the spirit of the world, Jesus has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit. Through listening to the Holy Spirit, we can learn how to attain Christ's true, lasting peace. Barclay says, "The peace which Jesus offers us ... [n]o experience of life can ever take it from us and no sorrow, no danger, no suffering can ever make it less. It is independent of outward circumstances." Christ offers us more than a mere temporary escape from our problems. Through His Spirit, He offers us His very own strength as He encourages us to take up our crosses and endure our trials with Him by our side. Only when we listen to the Holy Spirit, only when we embrace the Cross, will we receive the peace of Christ, which never fades and which no one can take away from us.

Plus there's another bonus. Unlike the peace of the world, the peace of Christ builds those around us up, leading us to practice charity to one another, especially those most in need.

Jesus said to St. Faustina, "Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 300). God wants the best for us. But He depends on us to turn away from the ways of the world, to turn to Him, and to trust that following Him is the only way to bring true, lasting peace into our souls and to the whole world.

View the next Sunday Scripture Preview.

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