April 3, 2024 at 9:13 a.m.

‘Peace be with you’

Jesus appears and says not words of anger and correction, words like you would have spoken if you had been betrayed by your closest friends.
WORD OF FAITH: A breakdown of each week's upcoming Sunday readings to better understand the Word of God at Mass.
WORD OF FAITH: A breakdown of each week's upcoming Sunday readings to better understand the Word of God at Mass.

By Father John P. Cush, STD | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Imagine, just picture in your mind for a moment, what it would be like to be one of these disciples, locked away, as we read about in Sunday’s Gospel from the Evangelist, John. You are frightened, no, you are terrified. The master, the one whom you believe to be Lord and God, Messiah and King, is gone, murdered, killed by the Romans. And you could be next. Even though you ran, despite the fact that you scattered like a frightened child, not the leader of men you thought you were, the Jewish authorities are looking for you. They know who you are. They know that you are a follower of that man, that one whom they humiliated and killed. And these Jewish leaders are still so angry and outraged that they have the Romans, the invaders, in on it with them. And they will have no mercy. What they did to the master, stretching him out and nailing him to a tree, no doubt they will do to you, and maybe even worse, like flaying your skin off! And here you are, surrounded by your friends, scared to make a move.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29

And you have just heard the news, some incredible news, news that made your heart leap with joy from one of the Lord’s female followers, this Mary, the Magdalene, a friend of the Lord. She claims that she was at the tomb, the borrowed burial plot of Joseph of Arimathea, and she saw it empty. And not only that it was empty, the Magdalene says that she saw and spoke to the Lord. He is not dead. He is alive. And he said he is coming to his brothers. And yet, this news also fills your heart with fear.

If this is true, what would Jesus say? What words would he utter to his brothers, these chosen ones, this apostolic band, each of whom in his own way betrayed the Lord? He had every right to have righteous indignation. The master could have rightfully reprimanded the Eleven. They had all run and left him to suffer and die, all except John, the master’s Beloved Disciple, Mary, the Lord’s mother, and the women, including the Magdalene. Whom should you really fear more, as you are behind these locked doors? The Romans? The Jews? Or perhaps, the rebuke of the master, the Innocent One, whom you denied, denigrated and ditched, all in a vain attempt at coming to your own safety? If the Lord is really risen and, if he is, as the Magdalene stated, coming to you all, his brothers, what would he say to you?

The Lord appears, instantly recognizable yet changed, glorified, appearing almost like Peter, James and John said he looked on that mount a few months prior. There is no doubt it is the master; in fact, he bears the horrible marks of the nails on his hands and feet and clearly has the wound from the soldier’s lance, that gaping hole from which the Beloved Disciple witnessed blood and water flowing.

You are so happy to see the Lord. All that you knew, all that he taught you, it is true. He has done it, as he said he would. The master has conquered death and, as he said to you, he will share this with you. And yet, you are still nervous. He has not spoken as of yet.

Finally, issuing forth from those lips which have the words of everlasting life, the master speaks. He says not words of anger and correction, words like you would have spoken if you had been betrayed by your closest friends. The Word of Life himself, in his Divine Mercy, simply, clearly, calmly, lovingly says: “Peace be with you.”

The Lord’s gift to us on Pentecost Sunday is the gift of peace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, that Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, who appears to the disciples as tongues of flame, peace is given to us. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict. It is living in the tranquility of order that can only come from the presence of God.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, give to the Lord our internal conflicts, that which weigh us down. Through the Spirit’s gift of peace, hear the Lord’s words to you personally: “Peace be with you.” As we carry our crosses, recognize him right next to you helping you bear the burden. As we suffer on the cross, often of our own making, see him remove the nails and take our place there. As we huddle frightened in the upper room, see the Lord Jesus appear to you, his contemporary disciple: “Peace be with you.” Live in that peace.


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