These are familiar words. You’ll recognize them as the words the priest says during Mass just before we offer peace to one another. It is a wish of peace we give, but it is the peace from Jesus that he gave to his disciples and to all of us that we remember in this simple gesture.
In these words of Christ, among his final instructions to his apostles before his passion and death, we encounter perhaps his greatest gift of all. This gift of peace.
Note that this peace is not freedom from suffering. It is not a shield against sin. Rather, it is peace through and despite the suffering we inevitably face and the sins we most assuredly do commit. It is overwhelming peace that comes to us from Jesus’ conquering both death and sin. We need not dread them anymore.
As Jesus said farewell to his disciples, he offered the promise of an advocate, a continued presence to guide and to defend. He established once again that his proper place was with his father, the fountainhead of the trinity. And he promised a return. After his death in the form of the Resurrection. And after his Ascension and at the end of our days. Jesus will return to us. We can count on that.
And this is our abiding peace.