The way the world gives peace makes peace a time-bomb ready to explode!

Today we have two powerful readings that remind us of the comfort we can find despite the hardships that are part of every life. Paul’s words, ‘We must experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God’, are spoken with all the passion of his recent experience of being stoned. This surely rings true for all of us.
Why doesn’t God take away all my problems? Didn’t I become a Christian so that I could escape the hardships of this cruel world? Unfortunately, this is the mentality of many Christians these days, because this is the message of many preachers. They often try to attract people to Christ with messages about prosperity and happiness. The avoidance of hardships was definitely not a reason to become a Christian in the first century. In fact, becoming a Christian almost certainly meant hardship and persecution. God loves us and doesn’t desire that we experience hardship. He sent His Son to us so that we wouldn’t have to endure eternal hardship in hell. But, He doesn’t remove hardship completely from our lives so that we can walk an easy street. Experiencing hardship and trials, and ultimately enduring them, is an integral part of our sanctification process. The world gives peace by providing favorable circumstances. In the world’s judgment, we are at peace when things are going well and not badly. However, this peace is very insecure due to circumstances beyond our control. The way the world gives peace makes peace a time-bomb ready to explode. When hard times do come, consider them to be a time of refining and a chance for us to give glory to God!

Our loving, gentle Jesus struggled to the end to prepare us for His crucifixion, death, and ascension. As we hear in Christ’s Last Supper discourses, His gift to us was the reminder that we are not to be afraid, and that He gives us peace. We hear this message of peace again when He returned to the Upper Room after His resurrection.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

The poetic message of today’s gospel is comforting and troubling at the same time. How many times have we agonized over losing something we held dear, or grown dependent upon? The disciples were about to lose their Lord and Master, and they couldn’t wrap their heads around it. Jesus knew they would need reassurance, a future promise of peace, to endure the suffering that awaited them.
What can we take from today’s gospel message? As baptized Christians we are to continue the message of “peace and good will” in our own lives to those around us. This peace is also clothed in trust, for though we live in difficult times, Christ constantly reminded us that we are not to be afraid. He is always with us!

Peace and Good Will to you All my readers.

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