Peace be with you.
In the Gospel this Sunday, the first words of Jesus to his disciples after his death on the cross were: Peace be with you. And the disciples who were locked down in fear, disappointed, angry with themselves and with one another, full of regrets, shame… suddenly were filled with joy.
But what is this peace that Jesus offers his disciples? Is this the peace of knowing that everything is now OK? That things will somehow go back to normal? That their betrayal was not so serious after all? Surely not. The marks that Jesus shows, the wounds that the crucifixion left for ever on his body are the clear evidence that things will never be the same again. But at the same time, those precious wounds remain for eternity as a visible sign of God´s unconditional love for us.
And that is what brings the disciples so much peace and joy, not that the past is forgotten, but that God´s love is stronger than our faults. No wonder Thomas was so keen on seeing and touching Jesus´ wounds! For he too was full of fears, anger and regrets and needed to find some peace.
And like Thomas all of us, need to experience again and again that forgiveness and love from God. Even more so at this time, when many of us are afraid that our lives will never be the same. We can still live in peace knowing that God´s love for us has not changed.
St Theresa of Avila used to keep these words in her prayer book. They are the best commentary of the Gospel today:
“Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all; nothing is lacking to those who have God: God alone is sufficient.”
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