Nobody likes spam. Thanks to the adoption of intelligent technologies, we don’t see much spam these days. But that was not the case in the not very distant past. Many of us will remember the good old days when every morning while checking our emails, we would be surprised to discover that we are related to a rich Saudi prince who recently passed away and left a significant portion of his wealth to us or that our email was randomly selected as the winner in the Republic of the Congo’s mega lottery drawing. For a brief moment, we would perhaps even feel good for ourselves, admire and respect the long-lost Saudi prince/uncle who found us and left all his money and wealth to us. But then the harsh reality and common sense would set in when we realized and concluded that such great promises of free gifts and goodies are not how things work in real life. And while this might be the case when it comes to marketing, commercial services and products, it is not the case for our personal lives, faith and especially the divine promise of inner peace.
In today’s Gospel reading, we find our Lord surrounded by his disciples in the Upper Room. It was a precious moment, their last meal together, their last peaceful day. The lives of the apostles were about to be thrown into turmoil and chaos. They were about to witness everything they believed and hoped for being destroyed, violated and taken away from them. They were about to see and experience betrayal, injustice, torture, death and persecution.
Christ was not going to leave his disciples vulnerable and exposed to the approaching deadly storm of fear and death. He promised to give them something extraordinary, a transcendent and powerful ability against any struggle and suffering in life. He promised them peace, his peace, peace that would protect the disciples, heal their wounds and help them navigate through the stormy waters their lives were about to be engulfed in. Here is the beautiful promise of peace, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:28).
The gift of peace that Christ promised to his followers is entirely different from our conventional understanding of peace. It is much more than just the absence of pain and distress. It means wholeness, completeness, security, contentment, healing and even joy despite suffering and pain. Disorder, disarray and suffering penetrate our lives in many forms and shapes. We struggle when our lives, joy, and sense of security are shattered by an unexpected diagnosis, the suffering of someone close and dear to us, career setback, financial crises, break up, divorce, and death. The free gift of peace that Christ extends to us is an effective remedy against any and every form of affliction and tribulation. A mere drop of Christ’s peace instantly transforms and calms the stormy seas of emotional and physical suffering.
Some might dismiss the promise of a free universal solution and remedy for all forms of human suffering as too good to be true. Others might consider it contrary to our real-life experiences where peace is based on the resources, pills we take to calm our minds, vacations we take, and things we buy to mask and escape the sadness and pain in our lives. Yet, that is exactly what Christ is offering us today, peace that transcends human understanding and comprehension and heals any form of suffering.
What are the things that trouble you today? Let us raise our struggles and difficulties to God. Let us share with God all that deprives our lives and relationships of joy. And let us ask our Lord to fill our lives with His peace and make us whole again.