True peace is not man-made but a gift of the Holy Spirit. "A peace without a cross is not the peace of Jesus" for it is only the Lord who can give us peace amidst tribulations. This was the central message of the homily of Pope Francis at Mass, Tuesday morning, in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.
Developing his homily on the words of Jesus at the Supper in John’s Gospel, "I leave you peace, my peace I give you,” the Holy Father focused on the meaning of the peace given by the Lord. The day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, he noted, speaks of the many tribulations that Paul and Barnabas experienced in their journeys to proclaim the Gospel. "Is this the peace that Jesus gives us?" the Pope asked, and immediately answered saying Jesus emphasizes that the peace He gives is not the one given by the world.
The world wants anesthetized peace to prevent us from seeing the Cross
"The peace that the world offers us," the Pope said, "is a peace without tribulations. It offers us an artificial peace "reduced to "tranquility". It is a peace "that is only concerned about one’s affairs and one’s security, lacking in nothing,” a bit like the peace of the rich Dives in the parable of Lazarus, a tranquility that “shuts” oneself without seeing "beyond":
"The world teaches us the way to anesthetized peace: it anesthetizes us from seeing another reality of life: the Cross. This is why Paul says that one must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven on the road with many tribulations. But is it possible to obtain peace amidst tribulation? From our side, no; we are unable to make peace that is tranquility, a psychological peace, our peace, because tribulations are there, whether pain, illness or death. But the peace that Jesus gives is a gift: it is a gift of the Holy Spirit; and this peace lasts through tribulations and beyond. It's not a sort of stoicism of the ‘fakir’. No. it’s something else.”
God's peace cannot be bought, without Cross is not real peace
According to Pope Francis, God's peace is “a gift that keeps us going." After granting peace to His disciples, Jesus suffers in the Garden of Olives and there "He offers everything to the will of the Father and suffers, but He does not lack God’s consolation". In fact, the Gospel, says that "an angel appeared to him from heaven to console him":
"God's peace is real peace, that enters the reality of life, that does not deny life; that is life. There is suffering, there are the sick people, there are many bad things, there are wars ... but that peace within, which is a gift, is not lost, but goes ahead bearing the Cross and suffering. Peace without the Cross is not the peace of Jesus: it is a peace that can be bought, that can make. But it does not last; it comes to an end. "
Let’s ask for the grace of inner peace, a gift of the Holy Spirit
When I get angry, the Pope said, "I lose peace." When my heart is "troubled," "it is because I am not open to the peace of Jesus,” because I am unable to "bear life as it comes, with its crosses and sorrows that accompany it.” Rather, we must be able to ask for the grace to ask the Lord for his peace:
"'We must enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations'. The grace of peace – of not losing that inner peace. Regarding this a saint said, 'The life of the Christian is a journey between the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God' (St. Augustine). May the Lord make us understand well what this peace is which He gives us with the Holy Spirit. "
Image credit: Vatican Radio Facebook page