In the Old Testament the Messiah was announced as the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:5). His birth was proclaimed as the new era of peace "to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Lk 1:79). Jesus himself established his kingdom as a reign of peace. "Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you" (Jn 14:27). After his resurrection, his first greeting was, "Peace be with you."

Through the Eucharistic celebration, Jesus continued his work of establishing and implementing his peace in our hearts. Peace comes into our hearts only through our personal intimate relationship with Jesus. At Mass this relationship is deepened and enriched.

At Mass the entire Body of Christ comes together to pray for peace. As his family we pray, "Lord, may this sacrifice, which has made our peace with you, advance the peace and salvation of all the world" (Eucharistic Prayer III). Later we pray for peace as a healing balm: "Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day."

As we become more and more aware of the indwelling of the risen Jesus within us, we are more and more at peace. How appropriately the Church incorporates her prayer for peace just before Holy Communion, when Jesus comes to us to augment our peace by his very presence. "Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever. Amen."

The Bread of Life
David E. Rosage