Acts 4: 32-35; 1Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20: 19-31
A florist once put up this sign in front of her flower shop. The sign was read like this: “FRESH FLOWERS SOLD HERE.” Upon contemplation, she decided to take out the word ‘FREASH’. It’s because she thought no flower shop would sale stale flowers. After more contemplation, she decided to take out the word ‘HERE’. It’s the flowers were being sold here and not there. After still more contemplation, she decided to take out the word “SELL’. It is because no flower shop would give away flowers for free. Finally, she decided to take out the word ‘FLOWERS’. It’s because that was what flower shop sold.
In today’s gospel, Jesus said: “Peace be with you,” (vv. 19, 21, 26) for three times. Why Jesus did say this? Did he forget what they did to Him during His hours of need? After all those things they have done to Him, he was able to say, “Peace be with you”? After Peter denied Him for three times, after the people have shouted at him, ‘Crucify Him;’ after the disciples had fled away and abandoned Him; he just said to them, ‘Peace be with you’? Is He out of His mind? What an absurd person. He is like that of the florist in our story. What a foolish attitude. May be if we are the one being done like this, I don’t know what are we going to do?
Just like what happened to a church worker in Marbel Parish whose daughter got pregnant and the culprit was an irresponsible person. He said to me: “Father, may be if I am not a church worker, I have killed this man already.” That’s why I said to myself, “Very lucky man. If the father is not a church worker I don’t what will happen to this person who got pregnant the daughter.” I asked myself again, “How about if we are not church workers, are we exempted to live a good Christian life”? Jesus said: “Peace be with you to all those who have done wrong against Him. No mentioned even just one word about the disciples’ weaknesses and failures. This incident in the life of Jesus is like that of the song of Michael V.: “Sinaktan mo ang puso ko, nilagyan mo ng tornilyo, sinunog ng pusporo, hinampas ng tubo….”
That is the nature of Jesus, a forgiving and loving person especially towards his enemies and that is our nature too, to forgive and love the person who hurts us. Just like in our story, a flower shop is not selling spare parts, tires and others but flowers.
Yes, it’s hurting that we are the losers already and yet we are the one asking for forgiveness. But that is our nature, to forgive and forget.
Before I end my sharing with you, I would like to mention some important notes about peace. When we are asked what do we mean by peace. We immediately answered: “Peace is the absence of war.” If we are going also to ask Mr. Webster about the meaning of peace, this is his definition: “Peace is a state of quiet or tranquility, freedom from disturbance or agitation, calmness, absence or cessation of war.”
Surely peace includes the absence, but the absence of war does not necessarily mean peace. Others mean peace as if they don’t have enemies and don’t return back or take vengeance but within their hearts a desire for revenge is very much alive. This could not be peace.
In Hebrew, the word peace is shalom, taken from the root word Slam which basically mean, “to be safe.” It also includes that when you say, “shalom”, you are wishing that person health, prosperity, security, political and spiritual well being, absence of war and also it connotes salvation.
During this mass, I will say to you later, “Peace be with you,” and you will respond, “And also with you.” Later, you will say to one another “Peace be with you”. In that sense you are wishing the person the same things that I said a while ago. The Latin equivalent is Pax and also the Greek equivalent is Eirene which basically mean the same as with shalom.
I’m hoping that during this mass, when we say “Peace be with you” we have to mean it. Then, let us ourselves these questions: What gives me inner peace? What makes me happy? Do I practice my kindness and generosity to my fellow human being?
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B
Back to: Second Sunday of Easter (Year B)