In tomorrow’s liturgy we can imagine the apostles and disciples gathered in the upper room on Sunday night. In this very room, four days earlier, the apostles had eaten supper with Jesus, the supper that was his last. He told them, “My peace I give you …” (John 14:27). They feel anything but peaceful now! Jesus had been shackled and tortured; he was “crucified, died, and was buried.” And now—all these reports (even from Simon!) that he has been seen, brimming with life.
“Let’s try to pray,” someone says, “the way he taught us.” It is the least they can do to try to keep his memory alive among them. “Our Father,” begin one or two voices, “who art in heaven.” Others join in, “Hallowed be thy name.” At “Thy kingdom come,” a new presence is felt in the room. For the eleven it is like that mysterious moment Thursday evening when they had eaten the bread and drunk from the cup: “My body … my blood … my peace I give you.” It is as if they can even now hear his voice! “Peace be with you. . . .” Then they realize: they are, indeed, hearing his voice.
This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:
“Peace be with you” on the lips of the risen Jesus is the answer to our prayer: “Thy kingdom come.” That kingdom is the fullness of peace—not simply absence of conflict, but (in the words of the classic definition) the tranquillity of order. Peace is to the universe what health is to the body: order; the way things are supposed to be. Not static, rigid, lifeless, but a condition of life so full it cannot be threatened or undermined by any power in this world. In Jesus of whom the “law, prophets, and psalms” spoke, in his glorified human body, the body born of Mary, the universe is again set in right order—and an even better order than before! God really can “make all things (all things!) work together for good” (cf. Romans 8:28).
If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels of the Easter season in Easter Grace.