We hear of the sending of the seventy-two disciples in this Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to the places that Jesus Himself would later visit. The instructions given by Jesus to the disciples are enlightening and worth meditating on. The seventy-two were to travel without haversack or purse, which meant that they had to rely totally upon the Lord’s providence and the generosity of others on their journey. Jesus even gave instructions to the disciples detailing the way that they were to greet people when they entered their house. They were simply to greet them with the blessing; “peace be with you”. The desire that others should have peace in their lives is one of the most wonderful gifts that Jesus Christ gives to those who believe in Him. Jesus wishes to give this peace to everyone even to those whom we might expect Him to withhold it from.
This week we celebrated the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Thomas is famous because he was the disciple who doubted that Jesus had in fact risen from the dead because he was not with the rest of the apostles when Jesus appeared to them. The following week when Jesus appeared to the Apostles, Thomas was with them. Jesus could have expressed disappointment with St Thomas or been angry with him for refusing to believe that He had risen from the dead. Instead Jesus greeted all the Apostles with the blessing; “peace be with you”. The apostles at that time were suffering and unsure of the future. One of their number was doubting the resurrection and the others were probably wondering what Jesus was going to ask of them. Jesus put all their worries at rest with the wish of peace.
We live in a world where many of us are too busy to be at peace. How many of us today find it easy to find time to relax? To experience peace of soul and mind, free from all worries and crosses? Perhaps most of us have to wait for holidays to relax and when the holidays are over we might lose the sense of peace we have gained in our break. However, peace should not be something sought once a year. And secondly, we must not equate peace with a kind of perfect relaxation or freedom from having to do work. Jesus has the power to grant peace to our souls at a deeper level. It is possible to be busy, but also to experience the peace that Jesus gives. This peace at a deeper level, is the peace that comes with knowing that one is loved by God and from having experienced the mercy of God. The presence of Jesus himself in our lives is the peace he brings. even in the midst of troubles and difficulties we can still have peace since we have Jesus.
Good people in Ireland today are dismayed that their government is proceeding with legislation that will legalise the murder of the most vulnerable. This is the kind of thing that can trouble the souls of many and many can feel discouraged or even lose hope. But since we have Jesus in our lives at times like this that we do not allow these awful happenings to disturb our peace. We must take to heart the instruction of Jesus to his disciples to rely on His providence in their journeys. We can take heart from the fact that the providence of God will take care of everything in the end. If we allow ourselves to become disturbed in these times, or to lose hope then we will become ineffective in the fight against evil in our society, and so we must remain peaceful and reliant on the providence of God.