PEACE BE WITH YOU
During the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, he greeted the disciples saying, “Peace be with you.” This was a usual form of salutation among the Jews. Israel had peace and prosperity when they were faithful to God.
Jesus appeared to his disciples after the successful offering of himself as the Lamb of God, like the return of the high priest from the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:34). On the Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement each year, the high priest went into the holy of holies and sprinkle the mercy seat with the blood of a bull for the purification of the priests and the blood of a goat for the forgiveness of sins of all Israelites. Jesus, the Lamb of God, had sacrificed himself as the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins of all who turn to him in faith. Thus, Jesus established peace, and he communicated that to the world through his apostles.
The repeated greeting of peace by Jesus was an assurance he was offering to his apostles as he was sending them out with a mission to the world. In John 14:27, Jesus had assured his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Even during severe persecution, they would experience peace of mind as he himself had during his passion and crucifixion.
During the Eucharistic celebration, the celebrant and the congregation exchange peace to one another. Even during severe persecution and suffering, the early Christian community enjoyed peace within them. If we are true to the word of God, we will have the joy in heart and hope for a better future in heaven.