"It’s good to remember, even before we begin, what he had to say when it was all over. With the wounds still gaping in his hands, feet, and side – a dead man walking into a room full of confusion, shame, and grief – he still had the nerve to say it: Stop worrying. Stop hiding. Stop locking your doors. Peace be with you...
The most unbelievable part of this story isn’t that he, being God, had no need of remaining dead; it’s that he, being God, thought we might actually take him up on the offer of living free from fear. Peace be with us? In this mess? Even if… Even when… Are you serious?
Holy Week is as good a time as any to be honest about our fears and every time I read the news it seems we’re about to find out what happens if and how we will react when. If our deepest fears are realized, when all is lost, will peace be with us? Don’t hold your breath...
After it was all over he didn’t ask us not to fear, but he insisted on peace. Be not afraid? Ok, maybe not. But live not in terror, act not in hatred, remain not in fear. If you can, let it pass. On the other side of passion is peace.
Perhaps there’s no way around the fear – the reasons for it will keep coming – but there’s no reason to participate in the terror. No reason to hold it within you. The scriptures say he breathed on them – Peace be with you – and that they received his Spirit.
Will peace be with us? Don’t hold your breath.
It’s good to remember, even before we begin, how his fear became his freedom, how his passion became his peace. Let it be so with each of us. Let our failures free us from fear and let this passionate love turn our terror into tenderness. And let us remember what he had to say when it was all over – Peace be with you – even if, even when."
From Fear and Passion: Celebrating Holy Week in a Time of Terror by Brendan Busse SJ
We pray with and for the people of Belgium, Turkey, Yemen and other places which have experienced violence, and especially for all those killed, injured and bereaved in recent terrorist attacks. As they - and we - live Holy Week in the shadow of terror, let us remember that Jesus calls us all from fear to freedom, from passion to peace... And may Sophie, whose body rested in peace in Belgium for a century and in Brussels for many years, join her prayers to ours, especially for all who are part of the Sacred Heart family in that country.