Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a)
We think of peace as the cessation of hostility, but Scriptures relate a richer meaning. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, means fullness or perfection. In the Old Testament Israel may have shalom even when it is at war since the word has less to do with human conflict than with right order in creation. When Israel follows the Law which God has established, the nation is at peace. This is the same blessing that Jesus bequeaths his disciples in the gospel today. Following him the disciples are reconciled with God.
Realizing that being stoned by jealous crowds imitates Jesus’ own persecution, Paul too is at peace. There is no hint of inner conflict as he picks himself up from the ordeal and proceeds on his missionary way. His peace gains depth as he returns to Lystra with Barnabas to shore up the disciples they left behind. And it reaches a climax when the two return to Antioch to celebrate God’s goodness with the church there.
We too find peace by remaining close to God in the midst of our activity. To use everyday images, God is our “ace in the hole,” our “fireman” in the ninth inning, the “one we can count on.” Keeping close to Him by prayer and adherence to His commandments, we have nothing to fear.