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Peace be with you. The Peace of the Lord be with you always. Peace I leave, my Peace I give you. Let us offer each other the sign of Peace. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us Peace. Go in Peace, glorifying God by your life. Many times during the Mass, we offer to each other the gift of Peace. What is the peace that we seek in these pleas?
We know that we desire peace in every aspect of our lives. When someone calls for peace, we may think of the need for world peace. A world where there is no wars and no violence on city streets. A world where there is an absence of hatred because we can accept that people can be different. When someone calls for peace, we may think of finding peace in our families. We desire a family where each gives respect to one another, and there is a resolution of the issues that tend to divide us. When someone calls for peace, we may think of finding peace within our hearts. A peace where we recognize self-worth that enables us to know and give love. We seem very we to know what peace should be, but we don’t seem to be capable of making it happen.
Our failure in achieving peace is because we attempt to become peacemakers using our human attributes. We send peacekeeping forces to other countries to prevent the spread of war, but often stop the violence by performing greater violence. Humans enacted laws to tell us this is right; this is wrong, assuming that this guidance would be sufficient for us to live together in harmony. Unfortunately, we continue disrespect others taking what is not ours or failing to share what we have that leads to violence. Society then retaliates punishing those who cannot follow these laws leading to resentment and more discord.
Within our families and ourselves, strife follows us as well. Dissatisfaction with our lives causes us to chase our desires, even if we hurt those we claim to love the most. We continually pursue the pot of gold located at the end of the rainbow convinced that with fortune and fame finally we will know peace. These futile efforts lead us to depression because we discover no matter what we do, we cannot find peace that our heart desires.
One of the issues we have with peace is to believe that if we can get others to be peaceful, then we will have peace. If that country were not so aggressive, then we would have peace. If those people were not disrespectful of others, then our community could realize peace. If people made an effort to understand my problems, then I could have peace. It is easy to blame others for the lack of peace, but for us to ever see peace in any of these situations, we must first find peace from within ourselves.
We will need to discover that every offense made against us does not require us to respond with violence or derogatory words. We well know that this self-restraint is not easy. There is an innate tendency to defend ourselves from those who seek to harm us physically or verbally. If each of we could find peace within ourselves, then we would then have peace worldwide.
We achieve the deep joy of peace in our hearts only through Jesus. In accepting that we are loved unconditionally by Jesus and that he has given us the strength to love him fully in return, is the onset of peace within us. In believing Jesus’ peace is a certainty assures us that we that no earthly power can take away his peace. It is in knowing that our lives have meaning that we come to find peace within ourselves and courageously then guide others to the peace found in Jesus.
Jesus gives us this gift of peace in every instance in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guide to find peace, to claim it, to make it our own. We were imbued with peace at our Baptism, for we were one with God. While the Holy Spirit continues to give us counsel in how to lead our lives, we on occasion, stop listening because we are seeking an imaginary pot of gold instead of the golden gates of heaven. It is then that we need to stop listening to the world and refocus on Jesus through the healing power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and by becoming one with him in the Holy Eucharist.
This inner peace will not be found from searching outside or inside ourselves but in Jesus himself. Peace is only achievable by learning of and then leaning on Jesus’ love to change us. We will never find peace within our heart and by extension peace in the world without a life of prayer asking Jesus to change our hearts, to enter into us, to take control of our lives of sin and guide towards the peace that only he can provide.

Deacon Dan Gilbert