Pope Francis: God’s peace gives hope, not ‘anesthesia’ against hard times

Pope Francis celebrates morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta May 12, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.

The world offers peace like it is something to possess within ourselves; instead, God’s peace is a gift which opens us to others and points toward heaven, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.

Peace “is not anaesthesia,” the pope said May 12. “You anaesthetize yourself with the things of the world and when the dose of this anaesthesia ends take another and another and another…”

“The peace Jesus gives is another thing. It is a peace that sets you in motion: it does not isolate you, it sets you in motion, makes you go to others, creates communities, creates communication.”

Speaking in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, his Vatican residence, Francis explained that the world gives “inner peace as your possession, as something that is yours and isolates you from others.”

“It is your acquisition: I have peace,” he said, adding that this “peace,” this inner tranquillity or happiness, “is a little selfish: peace for me, closed in me.”

Instead, God’s peace looks forward, toward heaven, he said. It is a gift meant to be shared with others: “The peace, this which Jesus gives us, is peace for now and for the future. It is to begin to live heaven, with the fruitfulness of heaven.” 

In his homily, the pope reflected on Jesus’ words to his disciples in the Gospel of John 14: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”

According to Francis, the peace “of the world is expensive, that of Jesus is free.”

He also suggested that people take a moment to consider where, and in what, they find peace.

Is it “in things, in well-being, in travel — but now, today you cannot travel — in possessions, in many things,” he asked, “or, do I find peace as a gift from the Lord?”

“Do I have to pay for peace or do I get it for free from the Lord?” he added.

Think about what “peace” you have, he said, encouraging people to consider if when they miss something, they get angry. “This is not the peace of the Lord,” he stated.

The peace of the Lord is also more than just falling asleep easily, he explained. The question to ask yourself is: “Even in bad, difficult moments, does that peace remain in me?”

“The peace of the Lord is fruitful also for me because it is full of hope, that is, it looks at heaven,” according to Francis. “It is a fruitful peace which opens up and also brings others with you to heaven.”

Noting that May 12 is International Nurses Day, Pope Francis offered Mass for nurses, calling the profession “a vocation, a dedication.”

“May the Lord bless them,” he added. “At this time of the pandemic, they set an example of heroicity and some have given their lives. Let us pray for nurses.”

After Mass, the pope concluded with Eucharistic adoration, benediction, and singing the traditional Marian antiphon the “Regina caeli.”