Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou.
I begin each of these newsletters with the above greeting. It is the same greeting Jesus used so many times when he met his friends after he had risen from the dead – “Peace be with you.” He said it twice in last Sunday’s Gospel. The disciples were hiding in a room behind a locked door, because they were afraid. Remember they had just seen the one they had left everything to follow put to death. Of course they were afraid. They could have been thinking “when is our turn coming? If they crucified Jesus, surely, they would come for us. After all, we are his disciples.”
They were hiding in fear behind a locked door, they were unsure of what really happened to Jesus’ body. Jesus appeared and the first words he utters are “Peace be with you”. The reason Jesus said ‘peace be with you’ was more than a platitude. He had to settle and calm all the emotions that were raging inside them. He had to speak rest to their souls and peace of mind to their hearts. He also had to do this more than once.
We have heard those words more than once in this Easter Season so far, spoken by Jesus in the Gospels and spoken at Masses by the priest who stands there and uses the words of Jesus. We are privileged to use those words and I hope that all priests remember when they use those words at Mass that they are saying them as Jesus, because we are Jesus to God’s people.
Remember, “Peace be with you” is not just a platitude or a trite saying. The question therefore that we all ask ourselves is “How is Jesus speaking to us today in these words?”
Thomas Merton once wrote “In a world of noise, confusion and conflict, it is necessary that there is a place of inner silence and peace, not the peace of mere relaxation but the peace of inner clarity and love.”
There is no doubt that we do live in a world of noise, confusion and conflict. Do we take the time, make the time to listen carefully for Jesus saying to us “Peace be with you”? I believe that it is not just a matter of listening to Jesus, but listening and waiting patiently for him to speak to us.
Nāku noa. Nā