From the desk of Fr Stephen
When I was growing up, my family would spend a week in the summertime at Montauk State Park here in Missouri. It was a trout fishing park, and all six of us kids learned to fish. I could spend twelve hours a day fishing; I liked it that much. The park had a lot of nature to observe with wild animals everywhere. You could just get absorbed in the whole experience. I do not think my Mom and Dad cared about catching fish as much as just getting away for a week and being at peace. It was easy to be at peace with the world and with yourself in a place like this.
In the Gospel today, Jesus appears to the disciples. The events of the Passion have just taken place, and the disciples were confused and afraid. They did not know what to do or who to trust. Suddenly, Jesus appears before them. They cannot believe their eyes, is it him? I am sure his visit brought up mixed emotions in them. I am sure they were happy, but maybe also feeling ashamed of themselves for having run away when he needed them most. Jesus must have known their feelings because the first thing he says is, “Peace be with you.” They needed to hear that. With those four words, they knew they were forgiven, loved, and had a sense of purpose in their lives again.
Peace is an important element in our lives. Ever since Cain killed Abel, the world has been a difficult place. We try to carve out peace in our own hectic lives but are reminded every day that this peace can be so elusive. Even within our own families, the peace we so desire may be a dream we hope will one day come to us. It is at times like these that we need to hear those four words that Jesus speaks “Peace be with you,” for ourselves.
It is at times like the ones we are going through right now in our world that we need to step back, evaluate our lives and to be at peace. Right now, just like the disciples in the Gospel, people are confused and afraid. None of us are sure where this virus is headed. If we listen to the doctors, it seems like it will still be some time before things quiet down. We cannot wait until the virus is gone to establish peace in our lives. It is time to slow down, take a breath, and ask God in all His goodness, to enter your heart. Ask God to breathe His Spirit onto you as He did with the disciples. This same Spirit that came at Pentecost 2000 years ago is still present today. This same Spirit can be with us and comfort us and give us peace. We may not be able to have a peaceful heart on our own, but with the grace of God, this peace can come to us and quiet our minds. God’s peace be with you.