12 May, 2020

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.

~ John 14:27 ~

In this reading, Jesus offers his disciples the promise of peace, his peace. Don’t we all need it! But what is this elusive thing we call his peace?

 

Some might imagine it is the absence of war. But can one really be peaceful under a state of tyranny?  A situation of prolonged injustice (assuming once again we understand what we mean by injustice and whether a situation is objectively so) may cry out for action on behalf of justice that disturbs the imposed peace.

 

Some might imagine peace as harmony; everyone consenting to live together according to certain norms and practices. My first reaction to this is: how boring! My second: any such model, whether in church or society, is usually the domination of an individual or faction over the others, however brilliantly such consent is manufactured.

 

Or perhaps peace is the blissful indifference one feels to the world around you when you attain an inner sense of joy and stillness, perhaps as you experience God’s presence. The problem with this is you are probably deluded: God does not pull us out of the world, out of caring. If you feel like that you may as well be dead.

 

So what is this peace Jesus offers? It is the peace of paradox, the sense of God’s presence in oneself and the world, however imperfect both are. It is the ability to live together, yet transcending the stupidity one often finds. And it is the ability to live in the world, whether of conflict or ‘peace’ (however illusory) with a sense of detachment, seeing it for what it is and doing what one can despite its messiness.

 

Loving God

 

Fill us with your Spirit of peace

 

That we may act with detachment

 

Live with wisdom

 

Love with joy

 

Through Christ our Lord

 

Amen

 

Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

Reflection prepared by

Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

a.egan@jesuitinstitute.org.za
See more from Anthony Egan SJ

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