Katie Faley — ‘Peace be with you’ . . . where to find hope when there is bad news
Cause of Our Joy / Katie Faley
It’s no secret that we live in troubled times. I won’t list all the problems that we face in the world today. Besides, you’ve probably heard all the problems on the evening news. We know it seems like it’s all bad news.
But, where do we go to find hope when there’s bad news? Why, the Good News, of course!
Last Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost. The apostles — after just watching their best friend, teacher, and the Son of God betrayed and murdered — were hiding away from all the bad news they were surrounded by. They were definitely living in troubled times.
While hiding, Jesus suddenly appears in their midst. He doesn’t knock or use a key. He just appears. So, naturally, the apostles believe he’s a ghost. When you’re surrounded by bad news, you jump to crazy conclusions.
The apostles soon realize it’s Jesus risen from the dead.
The first words that Jesus speaks to his frightened friends are, “Peace be with you.”
“What practical things can I do to make peace?”
Jesus has just gone through death personally. He has gone into the depths of darkness. He knows the very essence of troubled times. So that’s why we can trust Him when He says “peace be with you.”
When Jesus speaks those words, we know that there truly is such a thing as peace. Even when we’re surrounded by the depths of darkness and all the bad news we can fathom, there’s such a thing as peace.
HIS FIRST WORDS
I find it interesting that that those are the first words that Jesus shares. He could have said anything: “Mercy be on you,” “Charity be around you,” “Gratitude be in you.” He could have even kept it simple and said, “Hi, haven’t seen you in a while.” But, He says “Peace.”
Peace encapsulates all of the virtues. When Jesus wishes peace to the apostles, he is also wishing mercy, charity, gratitude and every other virtue.
WHAT PEACE LOOKS LIKE
After hearing all the sadness, the bad news, the troubles that people face in life today, it’s easy to feel like true peace isn’t really possible.
It can feel like problems are too great to actually do anything about. Once one problem is solved, there’s going to be another problem. I think this is where I can sometimes get caught up. Peace doesn’t always look like solutions to problems.
Besides, Jesus doesn’t appear to the apostles and say, “Solutions be with you.” He says, “Peace be with you.”
I think sometimes peace is already inside of a problem but the light is facing the wrong direction. The light shines on the discord. The practical thing we can do is to turn the light to shine on the peace instead of the discord.
I started to think about what peace looks like in practice. I asked myself, “What practical things can I do to make peace?”
The saints usually have good, easy-to-understand answers to my faith questions, so I looked to the saints.
Being a more modern-day saint, Mother Teresa would have been especially familiar with the types of troubles we see happen in the world today.
She said in her 1984 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “And so my prayer for you is that truth will bring prayer in our homes, and from the foot of prayer will be that we believe that in the poor it is Christ. . . . And we will love naturally, we will try to do something. First in our home, next door neighbor, in the country we live, in the whole world.”
Going home, loving my family, being a good neighbor, being a charitable member of my community, and loving the poor right here near me (and those afar) like Jesus is the practical solution. That is what peace looks like. That’s shining the light in the direction of peace.
KATIE FALEY is a member of St. Mark Parish in Peoria and a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. She has a master’s degree in theology and theological studies from the University of Notre Dame. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.