SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C
22nd May 2022
Acts 15:1-2,22-29; Apocalypse 21:10-14,22-23; John 14:23-29.
Today in the gospel, Jesus promised to give us the kind of peace the world cannot give us. This peace the world cannot give us is his own peace. He said: ‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you’. We look into the life of Jesus in order to understand the nature of this peace. When he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, his first words were; Peace be with you! Then he showed them the wounds of his crucifixion. He did this in order to connect his peace with his passion and death. He forgave all those responsible for his death. What this means is that the peace of Jesus comes through forgiveness and reconciliation. What is peace through forgiveness and how is it different from the peace of the world?
Worldly peace is achieved through violence. If you want peace, prepare for war! The Russia-Ukraine crisis is a cry for peace. While the church prays and makes sacrifices for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the international community sell weapons to Ukraine in the name of peaceful resolution. Jesus had the opportunity to instigate his huge number of followers against the Romans, but he chose to forgive and wilfully donate his life to be crucified to prevent the death of many innocent Jews. When he rose from the dead, it became clear to all that violence cannot give us peace.
Forgiveness is the understanding of the ignorance of the destructive nature of human violence. It is also a recognition of our shared responsibility in human crisis. Blame leads to violence while forgiveness leads to the peace of Jesus. Jesus knew that the hardship and the corruption of his time was the collective involvement of the people, hence he did not apportion blame on anyone. The reason the world cannot give us the peace of Jesus is because we are blind to the collective nature of human violence. It will take the grace of God to understand that the crisis we face is our crisis; the corruption we experience is our corruption. Forgiveness understands all these, hence it is the source of the peace of Jesus.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.