30 April 2024 - Tuesday of the 5th week of Easter

Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a


The first reading tells us about a particularly eventful period in the apostolic ministry of Paul and Barnabas. Nothing discouraged them, even when they were subjected to violence and Paul was stoned and left for dead. If such violence was directed against them, it was precisely because not only did they refuse to use violence themselves, but they preached the Good News to everyone, without exception, thus recognising that every person has the same dignity and the same vocation as a child of God, beyond all differences.

As we know, all wars, all conflicts and all tensions between people stem from the refusal to accept others in their difference, and from the desire to deny them their rights, including the right to life, because they are different.

Jesus told his disciples, during the last meal he had with them, that he wanted to leave them peace, but not just any peace. ‘Peace I leave with you; it is my peace that I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives it.’ We all know how political efforts to make peace between rival factions almost never succeed, because it is not peace that is sought most of the time in these negotiations, but a mere absence of fighting - and an absence of fighting that everyone wants to be in their favour.

The peace Jesus promised us is rooted in mutual respect and love: ‘Love one another, so that the world may believe that I sent you’. Several of the monastic communities of our Order live in regions marked by conflicts engendered by the exploitation of one another. By their very way of life, and the quality of their fraternal relations, these Christian monastic communities provide an example and a model of peace - not a simple absence of conflict, but a peace that the world cannot give. This peace requires a great deal of effort and goodwill from each and every one of us, but in the end it can only be a free gift from God, and we must all constantly ask the Prince of Peace for it. Let us pray for these communities.

Armand Veilleux