24 April, Sunday — Peace be with you

24 Apr – Divine Mercy Sunday

The Congregation for Divine Worship decreed in 2003 that “throughout the world, the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difference and trials that humankind will experience in the years to come”. Devotion to the Divine Mercy was promoted by St. Faustina Kowalski, canonized 30 Apr 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Acts 5:12-16
Apo 1:9-13,17-19
Jn 20:19-31 

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.’

For as long as I can remember, peace has always been something that I pray for constantly.

When I was a child and knew to pray, I prayed for my father’s mental well-being. For I have heard how he would go into some sudden violent outbursts but thankfully no one was harmed in those events. This was before I was born. Growing up, I never witnessed any of those episodes. Later on, when I got married, again I prayed for peace in our lives as we often fought. My husband also used to suffer from panic attacks and I too would go into ‘panic mode’. I remember how my heart would often palpitate and as I didn’t know how to deal with his anxieties; I often wanted to flee from the scene. I really hated how it made me feel, so I would just shut down. Now as I look back, I realised what a coward I was. So once again, I turned to God and prayed for peace in my life.

I didn’t realise that desire for inner peace was so great until my Conversion Experience Retreat in 2015. I was assigned to the group named ‘Peace’. Coincidence? Surely not. It was God answering all my years of prayers. That was the turning point in my life where I slowly learnt to see situations in the eyes of Jesus. When I do that, there is a greater sense of calm and I become less stressed as a result. The difference in having found this peace is that whenever there’s a crisis or when trials come, I no longer fret like I used to or try to flee but instead, I am able to remain calm and pray, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me in knowing what to do and how to respond, and be at peace with whatever the outcome. I can confirm that I have his peace because over a year ago, when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I was unbelievably calm and whatever fears and worries that I may have felt, they too dissipated very quickly. When I was lying on the operating table, I felt completely at peace because I know that Jesus was with me at that time.   

I now truly understand what is this peace that Jesus wants to give us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27). This peace that money cannot buy, no matter how much one has, and you can’t find anywhere in the world. This inner peace can only come from knowing, trusting and walking close to Jesus.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, give us the grace to always be able to turn to you first so that we don’t rely on our own strength or exhaust ourselves with trying to solve every problem ourselves. Help us to trust in you in all circumstances so that we can have the peace we so seek.     

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for wanting to give us what’s best for us – especially peace. With you by our side, we will not fear any tribulation or suffering that comes our way.  

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