The True Sign of Peace.
The Fifth Tuesday of Easter; or, the Memorial of Saint Christopher Magallanes, Priest, & Companions, Martyrs.*
Lessons from the feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Acts 14: 19-28.
• Psalm 145: 10-13, 21.
• John 14: 27-31.
When a Mass for the memorial is taken, lessons from the feria as above, or from the proper:
• Revelation 7: 9-17.
• Psalm 34: 2-9.
• John 12: 24-26.
…or, any lessons from the common of Martyrs for Several Martyrs during Easter Time.
The Fifth Saturday after Easter.**
Lessons from the dominica,*** according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• James 1: 17-21.
• [The Gradual is omitted.]
• John 16: 5-14.
5:24 PM 5/21/2019 — I hope you’ve noticed—and I’m sure you have—that every time our Blessed Lord appears to His disciples after His resurrection, He greets them each time in the same way: “Peace be with you.” Given the fact that this was the most common greeting exchanged between the Jews of our Lord’s time, we should avoid reading too much into it. The Blessed Apostle Paul opens all of his letters by wishing peace on those to whom he is writing; and, this common Jewish greeting has found its way into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, particularly just before Holy Communion, when the priest says to us, “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” after which he may or may not invite us to exchange some sign of peace with someone next to us; that’s up to him.
But then we have to wrestle with the question of what exactly is peace. When we wish someone peace, what is it in particular we want him to have, given that the word has several meanings? In political terminology, we usually identify peace with the absence of war, and in this context wishing someone peace might be interpreted as wishing him a life free from strife, free from conflict with others; but, when Pope Saint John XXIII wrote to the United Nations, he invited them to consider a deeper, more personal meaning when he said, “There can never be peace among men until there is first peace within each one of them.” He clearly understood what our Lord meant when using the common Jewish greeting. True peace is the result of holiness, the result of the struggle not to allow our love to be smothered by our disordered tendencies and our sins; and, this relates to the more social definition of peace as well: for, when we find ourselves frequently in conflict with others, it’s probably because we are, somehow, in conflict with ourselves deep down inside, which happens when we leave our sins, particularly habitual sins, unchecked and untreated. The remedy for that, as you know, is frequent confession.
So, let us make one of our intentions during this Mass that, as we offer peace to one another, we will also offer it to ourselves by means of a sincere examination of conscience and a resolution to identify and confess the sins—even the little sins—that rob us of that peace.
* Fr. Magallanes (1869-1927) was joined in martyrdom by 21 other secular priests and three lay people, all members of the Cristeros movement against the anti-Catholic Mexican government during the turbulent 1920s. Having built a seminary at Totatiche, he spread the Gospel and ministered to the people secretly. When imprisoned, he was heard to shout from his cell: "I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided nation."
** In the Missal of St. John XXIII, the Fourth week after Easter means the fourth after the Octave, in effect the fifth of the Easter Season.
*** In the extraordinary form, on ferias outside privileged seasons, the lessons come from the previous Sunday.