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Old Calendar: Fifth Sunday after Easter
"Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." We are not alone or without help in the life that we have embraced. The Church strengthens our faith and feeds our souls "with the pure milk of her teaching, with the bread of the Eucharist; she makes us witnesses of Christ's resurrection and of the victory which He won over the forces of evil."
The first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2, 22-29 and concerns the Council of Jerusalem which falls in the middle of the book of Acts and describes the turning point for the Church when the council officially recognized the evangelization of the Gentiles. This evangelization had been initiated by Sts. Peter, Barnabas and Paul. Thus, the Christian church broke away from the Mosaic rules while maintaining its roots in the rich theology and traditions of the chosen people. The second reading is from the Book of Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 and continues the description of the Heavenly Jerusalem. In the heavenly Jerusalem there is no longer any need for God to have a dwelling-place, because God the Father himself and the Lamb are always present. The Godhead does not need to be brought to mind by the temple (the symbol of his invisible presence), because the blessed will always see God face to face. This sight of God is what causes the righteous to be forever happy.
— The Navarre Bible - Revelation
The Gospel is from John 14:23-29. On our Lord's lips this common greeting — Peace be with you — acquires its deepest meaning; peace is one of the great messianic gifts. The peace which Jesus gives us completely transcends the peace of the world, which can be superficial and misleading and compatible with injustice. The peace of Christ is, above all, reconciliation with God and reconciliation of men with one another; it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; it is "serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, a bond of love, a union of charity: no one can inherit God if he does not keep his testament of peace, or live in unity with Christ if he is separated from Christianity"
— St Augustine, De verbis Domini serm.
"Christ 'is our peace'. And today and for ever he repeats to us: 'My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you'.... Never before in the history of mankind has peace been so much talked about and so ardently desired as in our day.... And yet again and again, one can see how peace is undermined and destroyed.... Peace is the result of many converging attitudes and realities; it is the product of moral concerns, of ethical principles based on the Gospel message and fortified by it.... In his message for the 1971 Day of Peace, my revered predecessor, that pilgrim for peace, Paul VI, said: 'True peace must be founded upon justice, upon a sense of the untouchable dignity of man, upon the recognition of an indelible and happy equality between men, upon the basic principle of human brotherhood, that is, of the respect and true love to each man, because he is man'. This same message I affirmed in Mexico and in Poland. I reaffirm it here in Ireland. Every human being has inalienable rights that must be respected. Each human community — ethnic, historical, cultural or religious — has rights which must be respected. Peace is threatened every time one of these rights is violated. The moral law, guardian of human rights, protector of the dignity of man, cannot be set aside by any person or group, or by the State itself, for any cause, not even for security or in the interests of law and order. The law of God stands in judgment over all reasons of State. As long as injustices exist in any of the areas that touch upon the dignity of the human person, be it in the political, social or economic field, be it in the cultural or religious sphere, true peace will not exist.... Peace cannot be established by violence, peace can never flourish in a climate of terror, intimidation and death. It is Jesus himself who said: 'All who take the sword will perish by the sword'. This is the word of God, and it commands this generation of violent men to desist from hatred and violence and to repent"
— John Paul II, Homily at Drogheda
, 29 September 1979.
The peace and joy which Christ brings us should be typical of believers: "Get rid of those scruples that deprive you of peace. — What takes away your peace of soul cannot come from God.
"When God comes to you, you will feel the truth of those greetings: My peace I give to you ..., peace I leave you ..., peace be with you ..., and you will feel it even in the midst of troubles" (J. Escriva, The Way
— The Navarre Bible - St. John