Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (14:27-31) in which Jesus says to his disciples “Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give. This is my gift to you.”
Fr Paul says this reading starts with Jesus’ greeting of ‘Peace’. This was the common greeting in Judaism, and it still is widely used today. But here, in this Gospel, it is specified by Jesus as ‘my peace’ – the peace of Christ.
By association this common greeting acquires a special meaning in Christianity from its use here, from its solemn use by the Risen Christ when he comes to his own people as they cower in the upper room, and it also comes from Paul’s use at the beginning of all his letters – even to the Galatians.
This sense of peach is lifted even higher through its use by the angels of the Nativity.
Christ’s peace, we have to understand, denotes more than an absence of war. It must be a true peace of generosity and justice, for all to be at peace in themselves with a clear conscience and with others in friendship, hearts untroubled and unafraid as the Gospel tells us.
In closing, Fr Paul shares today’s Gospel Lesson – Let the peace of Christ be with us always.