Third Sunday of Easter

PERFECTING PEACE

by Lucinda M. Vardey

Fr. Tim was pastor of my parish in England before I came to Canada.

A Catholic convert, he held rather unorthodox ideas regarding sin and penance. He argued that most wrongdoing among his parishioners was because we did not know any better: we were ignorant, not necessarily sinful.   Fr. Tim stood his ground on this especially regarding children’s confession. If you needed clarification on whether you’d sinned or not, you had to have a cup of tea with him in the presbytery’s living room. Within a short while, surrounded by walls of theology books and the fire crackling in the grate, you would come to the truth and leave grateful for the gift of inner peace.

Jesus’ common greeting to his disciples after his Resurrection, was “Peace be with you.”

This peace is the gift of his presence, a peace beyond measure. A peace that finds its way through the violence of hatred and through the fear of his followers. After the crucifixion, there was peace.   After Peter steers the rulers and people of Jerusalem to repent because they “acted in ignorance,” there was peace. After realizing what John explained Jesus’ death to be “the atoning sacrifice for our sins,” there was peace.

Like the disciples who took time to believe that the risen Jesus was alive and among them, the perfect peace of God’s love and presence takes time to root in us.

But once we recognize the Lord this way, we also recognize when our peace becomes disturbed. When something is not right within us, it is like a signal. It calls us towards the need for reflection and subsequently to reconciliation.

From the beginning, Jesus called us to be a people of peace. Through his peace in us we can, as Christians, give witness to our faith and love of God by being comforting balms for the wounds of the world.