We miss the sign of peace. It is part of the mass. It is when we can grant to one another a gesture of peace. Is that what we really do? We give our spouse a little kiss, hug our children, shake hands with those around us, and wave to others. Through these daily gestures do others feel that they have been granted peace. When others respond to you this way do you take a deep breath and feel at peace? Do you feel the peace of Christ in your heart by waving at everyone in the church?
I suppose you might if you walk out of the church knowing all your cares and sufferings have been left at the altar and you have helped others do the same. The sign of peace was added to the mass to be just that. A symbolic act of leaving your troubles and problems at the altar. A time to lift your spirits to Christ who offers you peace and to help others accept the peace of Christ. I am not sure that is what happens when we extend to others the sign of peace as we do today.
Jesus went through many trials yet always maintained the peace of God within Him. In the reading from Acts we hear how the first disciples were first welcomed into towns but then others came and turned the people against them. Paul was evened stoned but would walk back into the town of people who stoned him. Why? Because he knew there would be such trials in this life. Suffering and trials are part of our life. But if we maintain the peace of Christ in our hearts, we can face these events with peace. Knowing that Jesus walks with us. We help others face these events in their lives because we love our neighbor.
Our little gesture of peace hardly seems adequate. What clinches our desire to share peace is meeting the gaze of the other person, realizing they are sharing the peace of Christ with us. Peace be with you.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen