Peace be with you

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Jn. 20:19

I couldn’t help, but notice six-year-old Sael during the sign of peace at a Mass not too long ago. Enthralled with the somewhat social element he found in it, he walked to those near him to shake their hands. As he made his way back to his seat, he noticed an elderly woman off to the side sitting in a wheelchair, somewhat hunched over with her head bowed down. Sael made his way to her.

Undeterred that she could not really move her head, Sael crouched down and strained his own head to look up at her, “Peace be with you,” he said, smiling at the woman. I marveled at his strenuous effort to share a sign of peace with her.

This, in a sense is what Jesus does to each of us. Often we too are hunched over and bowed down by fears, anxieties, uncertainties, yet Jesus comes to us and says, “Peace be with you…”

Let us take another look at the words we read during this Easter season in the liturgy, “…The doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among then and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

How deep and powerful His presence must be to the disciples as He appeared in the room despite the closed door, seemingly inaccessible.Perhaps, locked? Bolted even? His words must have penetrated the depths of their hearts, bowed down with sorrow. Peace?  I wonder if it was disconcerting to them. He, who just suffered humiliating torture and a brutal death says, “Peace be with you,” to his cowardly friends, who excused themselves from the bloody scene out of fear. This peace shatters the darkness, shame and fear.

He shows them His wounds, where he has been pierced and yet He says, “peace” – because He has redeemed the world. Everything has changed for the entire cosmos through His life, passion, death and resurrection, and thus the Savior of the world, says, “peace.”

Despite whatever closed doors we may have, despite our external circumstances, sufferings, confusion, apprehensions, or fears, He says, “peace” to each of us. More so, He calls us to be this peace amid a chaotic world; to calm the doubts, anxieties and troubles – with His peace – because He has conquered sin and death.

This peace, borne of His redemption is a particular call for religious because those consecrated to Him are intimately linked to the Redemption.

In an Easter letter from 1983, St. John Paul II wrote, about religious, “In their consecration to Jesus Christ they are a sign of the redemption that He accomplished. .. They are instruments for bringing this redemption to the people of God. They do so by the vitality that radiates from the lives they live in union with Jesus…”

Because of this, the consecrated religious, with Jesus, can say to a world that often seems dark, “peace be with you!”

May Jesus fill your hearts with His peace, joy and confidence in His love for you.