The Pope’s homily from Santa Marta
VATICAN CITY — The world can numb your heart, but only Jesus can give you lasting peace, Pope Francis said today at morning Mass, in the chapel of his residence at Santa Marta.
In his homily, the pope reflected on today’s Gospel account of Jesus’ words to his apostles — “Peace I leave you: my peace I give unto you” (Jn 14:27-31) — and the true meaning of peace.
Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, he said, recounts the many tribulations which Paul and Barnabas underwent on their journey to proclaim the Gospel.
“Is this the peace that Jesus gives?” the Pope asked, adding that the peace the Jesus gives is not that of the world.
The world wants to anesthetize us to keep us from the Cross
“The peace the world offers us,” Pope Francis said, “is a peace without tribulation. It offers us an artificial peace,” a peace reduced to “tranquility.” It is a peace, he said, “that only looks to its own affairs, its own security, so that nothing is lacking,” It is a little like the peace of the rich man [in the Gospel]: a tranquility that makes us “closed” to seeing “beyond”:
“The world teaches us the path of peace through anesthesia: it anesthetizes us not to see another reality of life — the Cross. That is why Paul says that ‘through many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of God’. But can you have peace in tribulation? For our part, no. We are incapable of making peace … because there are tribulations, whether pain, illness or death. The peace that Jesus gives is a gift: it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And this peace goes amid the tribulations and goes forward. It is not a kind of stoicism, what a fakir makes: no. It is something else.”
No peace without the Cross
God’s peace, Pope Francis repeated, is “a gift that enables us to go forward.” Jesus, after having granted the gift of peace to his disciples, suffers in the Garden of Gethsemane and there “offers everything to the will of the Father and suffers, but God’s consolation was not lacking.” The Gospel in fact narrates that “an angel appeared to him console him.”
“God’s peace is a real peace, that enters into the reality of life, that does not deny life: that is what life is like. There is suffering; there are illnesses; there are many unpleasant things; there are wars … but the peace that is within, which is a gift, one does not lose. Rather, it takes you forward, carrying the Cross and suffering. Peace without the cross is not the peace of Jesus: it is a peace that can be bought. We can manufacture it ourselves. But it doesn’t last: it comes to an end.”
Ask the Holy Spirit for interior peace
When someone gets angry, he said, “he loses his peace.” When my heart “is troubled,” Pope Francis said, “it is because I am not open to the peace of Jesus,” because I am incapable of “taking life as it comes, with the crosses and suffering that come.” Instead, the pope concluded, we have to be open to asking the Lord for the grace of His peace:
“Through many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of God’. The grace of peace, of not losing interior peace. A saint once said, speaking of this: ‘The life of the Christian is a journey amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God’ (St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei XVIII, 51). May the Lord enable us to understand well this peace which he gives us through the Holy Spirit.”