Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: May 4. Lectionary #286. Acts 14:19-28. Psalm 145:10-11,12-13,21.
Aren’t we all struck by the frequent biblical message from angels and
especially from Jesus? That simple advice of Jesus is “Do not be afraid.”
Yet, we are and are harnessed by our fears and doubts about so many areas
of life including the spiritual life. Jesus keeps saying it throughout the
Gospels and in his farewell address it comes through even more clearly.
This advice should help us to realize that often we are fearful and
frustrated because things do not go our way. We want to be in control of
so many aspects of life; this augurs for some fear and some failures.
We go back to the farewell speech of Jesus even though we are now well into
the Easter mode. We still need his advice and his supportive words. He
tells us that peace is his gift and this means the removal of our fears.
“Do not be distressed or fearful.” He says this as he tells us and his
disciples that he is soon to return to the Father whom he loves and who
loves him. Jesus proves his love by both his words and his deeds as well
as living up to the commandments of the Scriptures that were his as a Jew.
Now as the Risen Christ and Lord he can tell us that he has fulfilled all
the commandments of the Father especially those of love. Then he
bequeathes to us a new commandment of love–unselfish love, integrated
love, and love that makes things better not only for ourselves but also for
Peace is the substratum or source for having the new kind of love Jesus is
talking about. We go to him for both experiencing this peace and being
warmed by his love. He keeps telling us, “Do not be afraid. I am with
you. It is I. My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” In many of the
resurrection appearances of Jesus we hear him extending that peace to those
who see him. In Hebrew the word for peace has become popular among most
religious people. Shalom is that word that Jesus uses. Lewis Glinert in
his delightful book The Joys of Hebrew has this to say about Shalom: “The
Hebrew word for peace, shalom, is derived from a root denoting wholeness or
completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is
bound up with the notion of “shelemut”, perfection. Its significance is
thus not limited to the political domain–to the absence of war and
enemity–or to the social–to the absence of quarrel and strife. It ranges
over several spheres and can refer in different contexts to bounteous
physical conditions, to a moral value, and, ultimately, to a cosmic
principle and divine attribute.” May the Lord raise His face unto you and
give you shalom. Amen . Alleluia.