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Jesus spoke to His apostles saying, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27). Now, when we hear the word peace we think of something like peace of mind, a calm relaxing day in which we have nothing that bothers us. Peace is like being on an island where we don't hear the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but rather the calming sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Peace is not being bombarded by the things of this life, but escaping to a secluded place where nothing can bother us. However, this isn't what Jesus is talking about. He doesn't say that He will take His apostles out of the world, on the contrary, He says they must be in the world, but not of the world. When Jesus says He leaves His apostles peace which the world cannot give, He is not talking about an abstract idea of peace, but rather is talking directly about the giving of the Holy Spirit.
Think about it this way, Jesus does not take us out of this world, but rather incorporates us into His Bride, the Church. In the Church, we are not gathered by common social status or like minded ideas, but rather are gathered together by the Holy Spirit in the preaching of the Gospel and the distribution of the sacraments. When the Holy Spirit is given to us and gathers us into the Bride of Christ, it is not that we are taken out of the world, but rather we are placed into a haven in this world in which we have peace in the forgiveness of our sins. All our troubles are not taken away just because we are baptized and trust in Jesus' mercy as we stand before our gracious Father. We still have the worries of this life. We still have job issues, money problems, school stresses, health scares, and the like. We still have things that trouble us in this life and there is no promise that things will get easier, but rather there is the declaration that in Christ we will suffer more in this world. Having the peace of Christ should not be measured by how little we have to worry about in this life, but rather that in Christ we have the peace of conscience knowing that our sins are forgiven and our doubts absolved. The Holy Spirit is given to us, and in this gift, we have peace that the world cannot take away because it is not the world that gave it to us. When Jesus says, Peace I leave with you, He says this because He is giving the Church the Holy Spirit who delivers the gifts of the cross to us in the midst of our anxiety and chaotic lives. Therefore, in the midst of our daily floods, let us thank Jesus that the Holy Spirit gathers us into the ark of the Church where we are safe and secure from sin, death, world, and the power of the devil as we receive the forgiveness of our sins.
"Peace I leave with you," says Jesus. May this truth comfort you in every trial you face today. You will have burdens, crosses to bear, anxieties that sneak up on you, chaos that you can't control, and temptations that will overcome you. In the midst of these, may you know that you have a merciful Savior, Jesus the Christ, who grants you the Holy Spirit who delivers you the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Take heart this day, your sins are forgiven, you are claimed and marked for eternal life with Jesus. May this truth carry you through the day and may it bring you peace in the midst of your stormy life.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the voice of your Savior that says, "Peace be with you. Take heart, the Holy Spirit is given to you that you may always have the comforter who comforts you in the assurance of your salvation in the forgiveness of your sins," Amen.