Jesus said to his disciples: Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say: I am going away and shall return. If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe. I shall not talk to you much longer, because the prince of this world is on his way. He has no power over me but the world must recognise that I love the Father and that I act just as the Father commanded. Come now, let us go.
The peace that flows from the Heart of God is a peace that the world cannot give. It is that peace which St. Augustine describes in these terms: “Our heart is restless until it rests in You”.
What kind of peace is this? It is a peace founded on living according to the Will of the Lord; it is that peace which He communicates to us.
Since man was created for God and only in Him does he find his fullness, he will always lack something as long as he is in the world. God arranged it in this way so that man, perceiving this emptiness, will seek Him.
The peace of Jesus means to live according to his will, in coherence with truth and love. The world cannot give this peace, because its offerings are incapable of filling man’s heart. On the contrary, it will always leave him with a great emptiness, which may not be immediately perceived, because of the many distractions that the world offers to cover it up. It can also happen that, after having achieved the goals we had set for ourselves in the short term, we experience a kind of peace, or rather a certain satisfaction. However, as time goes by, the heart will notice that something deeper and more essential is missing: the living and conscious relationship with God.
For those who have the joy of living in this peace, it would be their task to speak about the source of peace to those who do not yet have a relationship with God.
It is only by encountering God’s love and finding our security in it that the peace that Jesus promises in today’s Gospel can be communicated to us. When this happens, man has found his place, he has come home, so to speak, although throughout his life, until the hour of his death, he will be on a constant pilgrimage.
Jesus invites his disciples to share in his joy at being able to return to the Father. Then he will have accomplished his mission on earth and will go to prepare for us the dwelling places in heaven (cf. Jn 14:2). With these words, the Lord shows us another dimension of love: “If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I”. Indeed, if love desires the best for the other, the disciples should have this attitude of benevolence towards their Lord, who longs to return to be with the Father. This perspective will help them later to overcome the pain of Jesus’ physical absence in their midst.
Then, in the encounter with Jesus and in receiving his love we gain that peace on which we have reflected today, and it can form and mark us to the point that even death is no longer the worst threat for us; rather we can understand it as the last step we have to take to return to the Father of Jesus and our Father, who awaits us with open arms.