Jesus gives his disciples his peace: the blessing of reconciliation that through the prophets God had promised to bestow on his people. Jesus’ peace is a fruit of his relationship with the Father, and he is to bring his disciples into that relationship. His peace arises from a total love from the Father and therefore is unlike the peace of the world, which rejects God. Jesus calls the disciples into a confident trusting faith and promises them the peace that comes from obeying the Father and knowing his love.
Jesus’ gift of his peace is, therefore, the gift of participation in the perfect harmony that exists between the Father and the Son in the unity of their wills in love. Who Jesus is, what he does and what he is called to be are one. Jesus is, in the unity of his person, the identity of mission and existence. Insofar as the disciples keep his word in love, they become sons in the Son, more and more conformed to him in his mission from the Father for mankind. Thus being caught up in the gift of his commission to love and keep his commandments they will be caught up in the gift of his peace. The fullness of which is realized in the vision of the Book of Revelation, as the bride of the Lamb coming down out of heaven from God, gleaming with the splendor of God.
However, as Jesus points out, his self-gift evokes two fundamental responses, to love him and keep his word or to not love him and not keep his word. In fact, the disciples will discover that the more they try to embody this gift of peace the more they will encounter resistance.
The Savior, El Greco (and workshop), 1608-1614, oil on canvas, 72 cm x 55 cm, The Prado, Madrid. Excerpts from Father Timothy's homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter.