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The peace that makes the heart smile

Tuesday, 21 May 2019



Peace, the great parting gift Jesus left to his disciples, is the precious treasure that distinguishes Christians, Pope Francis said during his homily for Holy Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday, 21 May. This peace is not a banal tranquility. It is “profound” and “makes the heart smile” even through all the difficulties and trials we encounter in life. Referring to the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus leaves the Apostles with the words, “peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (Jn 14 27-31), the Pope noted that, when faced with “so much suffering”, one must wonder “where is Jesus’ peace?”. One must also wonder how “the peace of Jesus” and “these tribulations which appear to be the path to enter God’s Kingdom” go together, the Pope observed. However, he continued, though this life of tribulation appears to be “a life without peace”, it is instead a “beatitude”. It is “a peace that no one can take away, a peace that is a gift like the sea which is calm down deep but has waves on the surface”. It means “living in peace with Jesus and having this experience within, which remains throughout all the trials, all the difficulties and all the ‘tribulations’”. This, the Pontiff observed, explains why the martyrs did not lose peace in their moment of martyrdom.

We cannot have Jesus’ peace through human means. It comes to us from “the Holy Spirit within us” who “gives us strength”. To better explain this concept, Pope Francis told the story of a hard working but very sick man whom he visited the previous week. In a matter of three days, this man went from a healthy life in which everything was going well, to a sudden serious illness whose outcome is uncertain. “He was at peace. He confided to me: ‘I am like this, the Lord will know. Pray for me’”. This, the Holy Father stressed, is a Christian. Despite all his plans being thwarted, “peace always remains”. Jesus’ peace “teaches us to go forward in life” and to “endure”. Endure, the Pope said, “is a very Christian word”. It means “to bear the burden of life, the difficulties, work, everything, without losing peace”, and to do so with the “courage to go forward”. However, he pointed out, this can only be understood in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“A person who lives this peace never loses his sense of humour”. And this sense of humour, the Pope said, is “very close to the grace of God”. The Holy Father concluded by asking the Lord “to grant us this peace that comes from the Holy Spirit”.

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