Shalom - A Manifestation of Divine Grace


Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."

Three times we hear in today's Gospel reading the words of Jesus wishing his disciples that peace be with them. In Hebrew, the word peace, shalom, means much more than our understanding of peace. For us peace only implies a state of lack of violence or the peace of the cemeteries. In the mentality of the Old and New Testament the word shalom is most commonly used to refer to a state of affairs, one of well-being, tranquility, prosperity, and security­-circumstances unblemished by any sort of defect. Shalom is a blessing, a manifestation of divine grace.

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight-a rich state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as the Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.

When Jesus wishes peace to his disciples he is opening to them a world of fulfillment; fulfillment of their earthly and spiritual expectations. Peace-Shalom-is what ought to be at the heart of every Christian's life and community. As baptized Christians we discover the peace that Jesus wishes us as a goal and as a challenge; as a goal because, the life of every Christian ought to strive to be complete at a human and at a spiritual level. As a challenge, because we know that shalom is what Jesus is expecting each of us to realize in our lives and in the world.

May the peace of Christ always reign in our hearts and may we learn to follow the example of the Master in sharing that peace with one another.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.