13 April, Thursday — Jesus, the bringer of peace

Today, we welcome to our Oxygen ministry Stacey, who was baptised at birth. At her confirmation, she was given a pebble inscribed with the bible verse “I have blessed you so that you may be a blessing to others.” (Gen 12:2) She has been encouraged by that verse to serve and spread the faith primarily through music and song. 

Easter Thursday

Acts 3:11-26
Lk 24:35-48

‘Peace be with you.’

Brothers and sisters, exchanging the sign of peace with the greeting ‘peace be with you’ is one of my favourite moments in the mass. When members of the congregation offer the sign of peace, I have observed children embracing their parents, friends smiling and exchanging handshakes, and congregants who are strangers to each other, turning to each other to express the greeting. There is a sense of love, communion and unity through the exchange of this greeting.

Jesus uses this same greeting, ‘peace be with you’ when he appears to the disciples after His death and resurrection. Today’s Gospel passage focuses on one such encounter. However, when Jesus approaches and greets the disciples, their immediate reaction is not one of being at peace; it was a state of alarm and fright, where they thought they were seeing a ghost. Even when Jesus showed his hands and feet to them, the disciples still could not believe it was Jesus. There is a great struggle in their hearts to believe that Jesus is indeed present with them. After all, didn’t they just witness the brutal events of His Passion just days before? Could they have been wondering if they were really supposed to enjoy the peace of Christ so soon after such traumatic events? Could they have been afraid because they thought that Jesus whom they had abandoned, was back for revenge?

Jesus, however, takes no offence at the disciples’ fear, resistance, or doubt. Instead, He acknowledges their feelings, saying: “Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts?”. He does not hurry them to resolve their uncertainties about Him being present. Instead, knowing they need convincing, He invites them in different ways to accept His living presence – He invites them to look at His hands and feet. He invites them to touch Him. He invites them to give him food so they can see Him eat it before their eyes. This is so they would then bear witness to Him through their personal encounter and become a sign of hope for all peoples.

Like the disciples, I am sure many of us have experienced circumstances that disturb our inner peace to the point where we feel broken and hopeless. Perhaps we sometimes feel Jesus is out to punish us because we have strayed from him. Today’s Gospel passage is a reminder that Jesus does not withhold His peace from us. He comes to us as a friend and companion who understands us. Whenever we doubt, we can trust that Jesus is not upset with us. He stands with us when all hope seems lost. He longs for us to have a personal encounter with Him where we not only hear His voice, but we can touch Him and see Him with eyes of faith. May we recognise him from His greeting ‘peace be with you’ and use our encounter with Him to bring peace, love, and communion to others.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stacey Fernandez)

Prayer: Jesus, I pray for the grace to recognise you through your greeting of ‘peace be with you’. Please help me receive your gift of peace and bear witness to you, to all I encounter.

Thanksgiving: Jesus, I thank you for reassuring me with your presence, even when all hope seems lost and when I least expect it. I thank you for remaining faithful even when my faith is lacking.


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