Although Jesus warned us of trials and difficulties, he was also forceful in his promise: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
The first major recorded event, after the fall of man in Eden, was a murder.
Perhaps that is why we should not be surprised that one of the most present events throughout history is war.
An act whose only purpose is to bring pain, death and destruction to the victim. Sometimes, however, it seems that the aggressor forgets that he or she will also have to pay a price.
But of course, whoever gives the order to start a war is usually far away from the front line.
War is synonymous with casualties, and it is often said that the first casualty of war is the truth. However, this is not always true.
Aggressions are often justified under the pretext of defense, such as the famous “preventive wars” in the Middle East or the aggression against Ukraine. However, the truth always prevails through the clouds of bomb smoke.
The real first casualty of war is peace.
As soon as the first shot or the first explosion sounds, peace is dead. In fact, it may have died a long time before. The next victims are people, and, with them, the entire creation.
For nothing is more contrary to the concept of divine creation than war. And despite social advances, no one has managed to eradicate it. Nor will it succeed, until Christ comes again.
It is well known that the vast majority of the advances we currently have at our disposal have their origin in military needs. Digital watches, cell phones, computers, GPS, and even some medical advances were initially aimed at killing more and better.
We have gone from the stone or the jawbone of an ass to the missile. But the human heart still harbors the same yearning for evil.
And maybe missiles are not launched every day (now in Ukraine they are), but every day thousands of people attack their fellow human beings causing them physical or emotional harm, or both.
And in this context it is very easy to lose hope and faith.
Perhaps because of this, and because Jesus knew that violence is an endemic evil of humanity, he left us this beautiful promise recorded in chapter 14 and verse 27 of the Gospel of John:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
The world offers peace when violence ends. But it is still not a complete peace, because true peace is not the absence of violence.
A rape victim does not regain peace when the assault ends. And I wish the Ukrainian war would end right now, but that’s not going to bring peace back to Ukrainians. Because pain, hatred and rancor is growing in their hearts.
Recently a young woman from Kiev said that the Russians would never manage to enter the city, and the reason she gave was neither military nor geographical. The reason she gave was that hatred in the Ukrainian population had grown so much that Russian soldiers would never be able to defeat them.
That is why Jesus did not leave us the peace of the world, but left us his peace. A peace that does not need external conditions, the absence of violence, to exist, but is a peace that remains in all times. And that develops even more, if possible, in times of persecution and trial.
It is a peace that grows continuously as our faith and dependence on God grows. A peace that helps us to forgive and heal our wounds. Because what hatred does is to keep them open and infected.
And it is this peace the world needs. Therefore, today more than ever, the world needs us to be visible, even if they do not want to see us, and to carry the message of the Gospel, even if they do not want to hear it.
So cling to your Lord, and go forward, and even if the violent ones take everything from you by force, you will discover that there is something they can never take from you, the peace that Christ has given you.
God bless you.