MORNING MASS IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
“How does the world give peace,
and how does the Lord give it?”
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Today is International Nurses Day. Yesterday I sent a message. Let us pray today for nurses: men, women, young men and women who exercise this profession, which is more than a profession, it is a vocation, a dedication. May the Lord bless them. In this time of the pandemic they have given an example of heroism and some have given their lives. Let us pray for nurses.
Before leaving the Lord greets His followers and gives the gift of peace (see Jn 14:27-31), the Lord’s peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid (v. 27). It is not universal peace, that peace without wars that we all want there to be forever, but the peace of the heart, the peace of the soul, the peace that each one of us has inside. And the Lord gives it, but, He emphasises, “not as the world gives” (v. 27). How does the world give peace and how does the Lord give it? Are they different forms of peace? Yes.
The world gives you “inner peace” - we are talking about this, peace in your life, living with your “heart at peace” - it gives you inner peace as if it were your own possession, like something that is yours and isolates you from others, that you keep for yourself, a personal acquisition: I am at peace. And without realiszing it you close yourself up in that peace, it is a peace that is only for you, for each person; it is a solitary peace, it is a peace that makes you serene, even happy. And in this tranquillity, in this happiness, it can lull you to sleep, it anaesthetizes you and makes you stay within yourself in a certain tranquillity. It is a bit selfish: peace for me, closed up in myself. This is how the world gives it to you (see v. 27). It is a costly peace, because you must continually change the “instruments of peace”: when you are enthusiastic about something, one thing gives you peace, then it ends and you have to find another. It is costly because it is temporary and sterile.
Instead, the peace that Jesus gives is another thing. It is a peace that puts you in motion: it does not isolate you, it puts you in motion, it makes you go towards others, it creates community, it creates communication. The world's peace is costly, whereas Jesus's is freely given, it is free; it is a gift from the Lord, the peace of the Lord. It is fruitful, it always leads you forward.
An example from the Gospel that makes me think of what the world's peace is like, is that man whose barns were full and whose harvest that year seemed to be very big, and thought: “I must build other warehouses, other barns to put this in, and then I will be fine… this is my tranquillity, this way I can live serenely”. “You fool”, says God, “this night your life will be demanded of you” (see Lk 12:13-21). It is a temporary peace, that does not open the door to the hereafter. Instead the Lord’s peace opens to the place where He went, it is open to Heaven, it is open to Paradise. It is a fruitful peace that is open and brings others with you as well to Paradise.
I think that it would help us to think a bit: what kind of peace do I have, where do I find peace? In things, in well-being, in travel - but nowadays one cannot travel - in possessions, in many things, or do I find peace as a gift from the Lord? Must I pay for peace or do I receive it freely from the Lord? What kind of peace do I have? When I am missing something, do I get angry? This is not the Lord’s peace. This is one of the tests. Am I calm in my peace, do I get “lulled to sleep”? It is not the Lord’s. Am I in peace and do I want to communicate it to others, do I want to accomplish something? That is the Lord’s peace! Even in bad or difficult moments, does that peace remain in me? It is the Lord’s. And the Lord’s peace is fruitful for me too, because it is full of hope, that is, it looks towards Heaven.
Yesterday - excuse me if I say these things, but they are things about life that are good for me - yesterday I received a letter from a priest, a good priest. And he said to me that I speak little about Heaven. I should speak about it more. And he is right, he is right. And because of this, I wanted to emphasize it today. That the peace Jesus gives us is a peace for today and for the future. It is beginning to live Heaven, with the fruitfulness of Heaven. It is not anaesthesia. The other peace is: you anaesthetize yourself with things of the world and when the dose of this anaesthetic wears off, you take another one, and another… This peace [of Jesus] is a definitive peace, fruitful and “contagious”. It is not narcissistic, because it always looks to the Lord. The other form of peace is about looking at yourself, it is a bit narcissistic.
May the Lord give us this peace, full of hope, that makes us fruitful, that makes us communicative with others, that creates community and that always looks to the definitive peace of Paradise.
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