In his daily homily Pope Francis cautioned attendees not to place their security in the worldly peace of wealth, vanity or power, but rather in that offered by Jesus, which is the only one that lasts.
“Money does not give you a definitive peace. Just think, metal also rusts! What does it mean? A stock market crash and all your money is gone! It is not a secure peace: It is a superficial temporal peace,” the Pope explained in his May 20 homily.
Centering his reflections on the Gospel, taken from John, in which Jesus speaks of his coming passion and death, the pontiff drew the attention of those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse to Jesus’ words: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”
The peace that the world gives is completely different from that of Jesus, the Pope noted, because “it is somewhat superficial” and may offer a “degree of calm, even a certain joy,” but only “up to a certain point.”
“For example, it offers us the peace of wealth: ‘I am at peace because I have everything I need, everything organized for my whole life, I do not have to worry,’” he continued, adding “this is a peace that the world gives.”
“Do not worry, you won’t have any problems because you have so much money ... the peace of wealth.”
However Jesus warns us “not to trust this peace,” the Roman Pontiff observed, recalling that “with great realism he tells us: ‘Look, there are thieves ... thieves can steal your wealth!’ Money does not give you a definitive peace.”
Going on, the Bishop of Rome pointed out that there is another worldly peace which is that of “power,” but that this also fails to satisfy because “a coup can take it away” at any moment.
Recalling what happened to the “peace of Herod” when the Magi told him about the birth of Jesus, the King of Israel, the pontiff explained that when he heard the news “that peace vanished immediately.”
Also drawing attention the false peace that arises out of vanity, which he referred to as a “peace of conjecture,” Pope Francis said that it too falls short of true peace because one day you can be praised and loved and the next rejected, “like Jesus between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.”
But the peace that the Lord gives is totally different because “the peace of Jesus is a Person, the Holy Spirit!”
“On the same day of the Resurrection, He comes to the Upper Room and His greeting is: ‘Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit,’” the Pope went on, stating, “This is the peace of Jesus: it is a Person, it is a great gift.”
“And when the Holy Spirit is in our hearts, no one can remove His peace. No one! It is a definitive peace!”
“So what is our task?” he asked, explaining that it is “to custody this peace. Safeguard it!” because “it is a great peace, a peace that is not mine, is belongs to another Person who gives it to me, another Person who is in my heart and accompanies me all the days of my life. The Lord has given it to me.”
Noting how we obtain this peace when we receive the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, the Roman Pontiff affirmed that we must welcome it “like a child who receives a gift…without conditions, with an open heart.”
Pope Francis cautioned attendees that we must safeguard the Holy Spirit without “imprisoning him,” and that if we truly “have this peace of the Spirit” and are aware of it, “let not your heart be troubled.”
“Be sure! Paul told us that we must first pass through many tribulations to enter the Kingdom of heaven,” the Pope continued, observing that “we all, all of us, we have so many, everyone!”
“Some bigger, some smaller…But ‘let not your heart be troubled,’ and this is the peace of Jesus.”
The pontiff concluded by reiterating how it is “the presence of the Spirit that makes our heart be at peace. Not anesthetized, no! At peace! Aware, but at peace with the peace that only God's presence gives.”