Every mass at the Rite of Peace, the priest says the words that Jesus said when He appears to His disciples after His resurrection. “Peace, I give you; my peace I leave with you.” Then we turn to others and extend a sign of peace to those around us. This rite comes near the end of mass.
This is a good place to have a sign of peace. We have made it to mass. Some of us come running in, a little late, but we did get there. Others have children they need to dress and feed before they come to mass. Some people like to come an hour before mass to sit in their favorite pew. And some come about ten minutes early to pray and find a little quiet time to calm down.
Mass starts with music to help us get into the right frame of mind. And then we have the Word of God. God speaks to us. I hope by the time we get to the gospel people have had a few minutes to become ready to receive the Word of God. And as we have all seen, at mass we might not always experience peace as there is a lot of activity.
Have you noticed how many children need to go to the bathroom after the homily? I imagine parents tell their children they can wait until after the homily. It is as if the Offertory is the start of a free time. We sat long enough and now need to move.
The Eucharistic Prayer begins, and we start to quiet down again. We listen to the words of consecration., or at least try to. I am glad we ring the bells at consecration. The first time draws everyone’s attention to what is happening. Parents even get a little peace at this time. When the bells ring, they can whisper to their children “What was that?” or “Where did that come from?” The calmness of peace is when the bells ring a second time. Now the sense of peace comes over many at mass.
Peace. When we think of peace there are four levels that we should consider.
First, peace among nations. In other words, we are not shooting at one another, trying to kill the other. It is a type of peace, but it is more of tentative agreement. I won’t shoot you if you don’t shoot me.
The second form of peace – when we are at peace within ourselves and with what is happening in our lives. We know days where we are happy, and everything is just working out great. Unfortunately, we do not have many days like this. Or a tragedy can strike, and we completely lose our sense of peace.
A third form of peace – when we are at peace with God and in our relationship with Him. I see this form of peace quite often when people leave the confessional. They walk out with a spirit of wanting to have a change of heart, make changes in their life. They are at peace knowing God has forgiven them.
And the last form of peace – the peace of Christ. This is the peace we share at mass. A blend of the other forms, true, but something more. It is a peace that we will leave the sanctuary of the church and go back out into the noise and troubles of the world, but now with the peace of Christ within us. All of us. We are the family to support each other in sharing the peace of Christ with the world.
The world is certainly a challenging place, but that is why we have mass every Sunday. To renew and refresh us with God’s grace to take the peace of Christ to others.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen