In this week's gospel Jesus tells his disciples, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives." Jesus seems to be making a distinction here between two different kinds of peace, one that he gives and one that "the world gives." Often we hear peace spoken about as the absence of conflict or sometimes conflated with quietness or stillness. Is this the kind of peace that Jesus embodied in his ministry? Certainly Jesus had moment of stillness and quiet in the midst of his chaotic ministry. He did after all quiet a storm on the sea of Galilee. But much more often Jesus leaned into conflict, engaged in dialogue across lines of cultural and ideological different, challenged his best friends on how they viewed him and the world, even undermined the ideology of his faith community's leadership. The peace that Jesus offered to his disciples seems to be something more than just the absence of conflict, and might even be something they (and we) can only find through conflict, struggle, challenge, and discomfort. As you look around and listen to the way peace is described in the world today, what do you think Jesus means by the peace that "the world gives?" How do you experience peace? What are the places or who are the people that help you feel at peace? Is there a difference between that peace that "the world" offers and the peace you find in these people/places? Take some time to share your thoughts as a group.
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