“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
As Christians and particularly as a Franciscans we are called to not only pray for peace but also to work for peace: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
In today’s Gospel Jesus offers us His gift of peace. True Christian peace is both a gift and a challenge as Jesus teaches: “Not as the world do, I give it [peace] to you.” This peace that Jesus shows us is based on service and sacrifice as He makes concrete when He washes the feet of His disciples:
“You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:12-15).
We follow Jesus’ model or example by working for peace and justice. This is what we ask for and pray for when we pray the Peace Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
So today let us receive this gift of Jesus’ peace and let us offer each other the sign of peace.