"Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you." --Saint Jerome
Scripture Text: (PS 119:165, 168, 171, 172, 174, 175)
R. (165a) O Lord, great peace have they who love your law. Those who love your law have great peace, and for them there is no stumbling block. R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law. I keep your precepts and your decrees, for all my ways are before you. R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law. My lips pour forth your praise, because you teach me your statutes. R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law. May my tongue sing of your promise, for all your commands are just. R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law. I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law. Let my soul live to praise you, and may your ordinances help me. R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
Among the many desires we have in life, surely one of the most significant and universal is the desire to experience peace. In the midst of life’s countless headaches and hassles, we long for a time and place where we can simply be at peace. As people of faith, we know that our lives are not immune to troubles and conflicts, simply because we profess the name of Jesus.
But where can we find at least some oases of refreshment? Where can we find peace?
“O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.” The words of today’s responsorial psalm at Mass reveal that a great measure of peace is promised to those who love the law of the Lord. In its simplest form, the verse uncovers for us the truth that often our lack of peace comes from a reluctance to embrace limits, a search for “freedom” defined as lack of external constraint. Living within the loving bounds set for us by the Lord shepherds us from the valley of darkness into the green pastures of peace.
For us who profess faith in Jesus, however, there is more. Jesus, who came not to abolish but to bring the law to perfection, is himself the source of peace; he is our law, our pattern of activity, but also the one who brings peace. We are reminded of Jesus’ farewell speech to his apostles: “Peace I leave with you; my own peace I give you.”
Peace is not an attribute, a lack of being upset. Peace is communion with Jesus and his promises.
Where today are we experiencing headaches and hassles? Where are we without peace? Today’s scripture invites us to ask if we have been trying to live without limits, boundaries and all that comes from the law of the Lord. In addition, we may need to make the time to go to Jesus with our lack of peace, relating to him all that is upsetting us, or asking him to reveal the source of our unrest. In all circumstances we remember the promises:
Those who love the Lord’s law have great peace; peace comes from being one with Jesus.