Daily Reflection
May 20th, 2003
Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Institute for Priestly Formation
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Acts 14:19-28
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13, 21
John 14:27-31

The Presence of Peace

It is the season of farewells.  For many young (and not-so-young) people, May marks graduation or, perhaps more accurately, commencement.  It is a time of mixed emotions; often tears of joy mix with tears of sorrow or fear.  

As friends say good-bye, the pain of separation rises to the surface; they search for just the right words of farewell, for ways to "stay in touch," or for something which will help them remember the one they have grown to know and even love. 

Jesus' words form part of what is often called his "farewell discourse" in the gospel of John.  Here, too, the season of farewell comes with well-chosen words on the part of Jesus and confusion, if not outright fear, on the part of his friends.  But, true to human expectation, Jesus promises a farewell gift:  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you."  

How different this promise, from the normal parting words wishing "Good luck," or "I hope everything works out for you."  Jesus' promise of peace is not a well-wishing; rather, it is a promise of "presence."  Even more than the "shalom" of his Jewish heritage, Jesus' promised peace foreshadows a changed, but even more real relationship than had previously existed.

To be aware of peace at work in the depth of our hearts, deeper than changing surface feelings or even the stresses and strains of daily life, is to know the presence of the Risen Jesus.  Not a well-wishing or a mask for life's real tensions, this deep peace is his Risen Presence.  

Will I take the time today to taste this precious gift?

"The peace of the Lord be with you always!"  

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