VATICAN CITY, May 20, 2014 – Those who welcome the Holy Spirit will have a solid and endless peace, unlike those who choose to “superficially” trust in the tranquillity offered by money or power.
This was Pope Francis’ message in his homily at Mass on Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta.
Reflecting on the peace offered by things — money , power , vanity — and the peace in the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father warned that the first is always in danger of vanishing. “Today you are rich and you are somebody, not tomorrow,” he said, adding that “no-one can take away the second because it is a definitive peace.”
The Pope’s homily, which centered on one of the greatest desires of mankind of all times, was inspired by a passage from the Gospel of John, in the liturgy of the day. Jesus is about to face the Passion and before he takes leave of the disciples, he announces: “My peace I give you”.
It is a peace, the Pope said, which differs completely from the “peace that the world gives us” which is “somewhat superficial”, offering 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 … ‘,” the Pope reminded. “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.
“And Jesus tells us not to trust this peace because, with great realism, he tells us: ‘Look, there are thieves … thieves can steal your wealth!’ Money does not give you a definitive peace,” the Pope continued. “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”.
Pope Francis also examined two other types of worldly peace. The first, the peace of “power”, does not work either because “a coup can take it away”. Think what happened to the “peace of Herod”, the Pope said, when the Magi told him that the King of Israel was born. “That peace vanished immediately”. Or the peace of “vanity”, which Pope Francis termed an “peace of conjecture”: today you are greatly appreciated and tomorrow you will be insulted, “like Jesus between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Instead, the peace that Jesus gives is of a completely different substance.
“The peace of Jesus is a Person, the Holy Spirit!,” Francis said. “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’. 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? To take custody of this peace. Safeguard it! It is a great peace, a peace that is not mine, it 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”.
This peace is received at Baptism and Confirmation, but above all “we receive it like a child who receives a gift”, the Pope said, ” without conditions, with an open heart”. We must take custody of the Holy Spirit without “imprisoning Him”, asking for help from this “great gift” of God.
The Pope added: “If you have this peace of the Spirit, if you have the Holy Spirit within you, and you are aware of this, 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. But 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 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”.