In a verse preceding today’s Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus why he will not show the whole world who he is. It’s an excellent question. Surely this whole faith-journey experience and relationship with God would be far easier if there were fireworks and clear instructions. Jesus’ response to the disciples is: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’ This is the opening line of today’s Gospel. It reminds us that what is required first is an inner relationship with God, so that God can come and make a home with us: ‘we will come to them and make our home with them.’ It is there where we discover who Jesus is.
The peace (shalom) that Jesus gives to the disciples has a much richer meaning than we might first think. This ‘shalom’ is not simply a good wish for a nice evening; it is, rather, a peace that this world cannot offer. It is a peace that comes from a loving relationship with God; a peace of body, of mind and of spirit. Jesus is asking the disciples to be an unending witness to God’s love. They (and we) must be for others what Jesus has been for them. In this way we, and the world, will come to see who Jesus is.
‘When we understand the essential unity of all that is, we discover the possibility of ‘peace’ – the kind of peace that in Hebrew is called shalom, and which is infinitely more than an absence of strife; it is the wholeness of the web of life itself and of every creature in it, held in the wholeness of the one God.’