PEACE IN BOLDNESS
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 A wise person once said that sadness looks to the past, and fear to the future, but faith to the present. Christ is the Prince of Peace. His peace extends to our past, present, and future.
Peace in the New Testament is treated some 92 times and is often found in the words of Christ. Some scholars feel that the root meaning of peace in the Greek is "to join". One of the basic meanings of peace is that we experience harmony when our relationships are right. "Righteousness and peace have kissed each other" Ps 85:8
A deep association with Christ brings great peace. We find peace with our troubled past because of Christ’s forgiveness. We find this same peace in future anxiety because He will never leave us: "I will be with you all days".
As for the present Jesus says don’t let your hearts be troubled or literally, be shook up. Jesus often exhorts his apostles to be bold: "Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid. "Mt 14:27 The word for courage in Greek NT is tharseó. It has a strong connotation of boldness, "bolstered because warmed up," Jesus uses this term seven times in the Gospels. As strange as it seems peace is often the result of boldness.
Jesus tells us "don’t be afraid". The word for fear in today’s gospel is deiliaó which means to be timid (fearful), living in dread. The word never has a positive meaning. Jesus is saying we will truly have peace only if we are bold and without timidity. Thousands of years ago the psalmist said: "In peace I both lie down and seep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in bold confidence." Ps 4:8
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.