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There is so much violence in our world. There is violence in Ukraine because of an unjust invasion of that nation. There is violence in the womb through the willful killing of pre-born children. There is violence in our streets, and we know that there is too much domestic violence in our homes.
Last week, in what appears to be an instance of racist hatred against our African American brothers and sisters, a young man shot, killed, and wounded multiple innocent shoppers at a supermarket in Buffalo.
All of these instances of the willful disrespect and destruction of human life are abhorrent to us who only seek peace for ourselves, our children, our neighbors and our world.
In today’s Gospel we find the words of Jesus that are said right before we receive Holy Communion: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
Despite living in a toxic world, we must reach into our souls and find the peace of Christ who dwells in us. This peace is what allows us to not be afraid in the face of so much that opposes our Christian sensibility.
The peace of Christ is, as St. Augustine said, “serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, a bond of love, and a union of charity.” In fact, St. Paul said, “Christ is our peace.” To know and believe in Jesus is to be assured that our future is already secured, despite the trials and tribulations of this life.
Pope Paul VI, linked peace to justice, with justice being found in a right relationship with God and a right relationship with our fellow human beings. In 1971 the pontiff said it this way: “True peace must be founded upon justice, upon a sense of the untouchable dignity of man, upon the recognition of an indelible and happy equality between men, upon the basic principle of human brotherhood, that is, of the respect and true love due to each man, because he is man.”
Until we recognize that all persons, no matter what stage they are in this life, from conception to death and in between, whether black or white, male or female, leaning left or leaning right have an inherent dignity, we will continue to believe that one person has the right to destroy, denounce, and debase another human life.
Let us find the peace of Christ within us so that we can share his peace with one another. Then, the act of sharing peace before we receive Holy Communion at Mass will not stop there. Rather, we will desire to share what we have come to know when we walk back into the world: Christ, our peace.