Peace be with you!

by

I’m at Sunday Mass.  It’s the time for the sign of peace, and I turn to the woman on my right; ‘Peace be with you’, I say.  I like to give my full attention, if only momentarily, when I exchange the sign of peace because I feel that this is a gift we can give, a little prayer we can offer, one for the other.

I’m about to turn to my left when the woman in the bench in front of me greets me with outstretched hand.  She is holding her little boy in her arms and suddenly another hand – a very small hand – is thrust at me. ‘Peace’ I say as I hold the tiny fingers. I cannot help smiling as I look back into those clear blue eyes so serious, and so intent. An unexpected blessing!

Then I watch as a little hand is thrust out vigorously to each person, as the mother greets those around her. I find myself thinking of Jesus’ words, ‘Let the little children come to me . . .   theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. And I think too what a privilege it is –as well as a responsibility – if one’s ministry is with children or young people.

Afterwards, I discover that the boy’s name is James and –  a beautiful thing –  the Gospel reading for today gives us Jesus’ words, ‘Peace I leave with you my own peace I give you. . . . a peace that the world cannot give.’

Thank you, James.  I think that we changed each other that day, you and I – just a tiny bit!

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