The Mass // How to Give the Sign of Peace

Matt 5:21-26; 1 Cor 16:20John 16:33; THE MASS PDF Link

“The peace of the Lord be with you.”
“And with your spirit.”
“Offer to each other a sign of peace.”

At every mass we hear these words of peace and in our modern American culture, take it as an opportunity to shake the hands of those around us, kiss our family members, give the two-fingered sign for peace, wave, hug the cute guy in the pew near us, etc. Though we appear to be an overly affectionate bunch, many times this opportunity of blessing is over looked and steamrolled by how many people we can come in contact with.

Peace is such a beautiful thing, no? When I think of peace I think of hippie ideologies and maybe a serene sunset. But peace in the spirit is a far greater thing. I had to look up the word peace to get a starting off point for today’s study. It was amazing what I saw.

Synonyms: Accord, friendship, love, reconciliation, truce, unity, amity, concord, order, union.

Antonyms: Disagreement, hate, discord, agitation, disharmony, distress, fighting, frustration, upset, war, worry.

It wasn’t until I read through the antonyms of peace that I understood what we are supposed to be blessing others with. The sign of peace is a blessing that we are giving to our family (both blood family and church family). We bless them with love and unity, praying that the troubling things of their life, things that cause frustration, upset, worry, anxiety, and discord all disappear. More importantly, we are praying over them, and for them, asking that these things of frustration, upset, worry, anxiety, and discord do not disturb their spirit. It may be one thing to worry about work, or bills, or health – sometimes life isn’t easy. But we need to take this time to pray that those around us, no matter what the waves of life offer, do not disturb the joy of their spirit.

Today’s mediation: When I offer the sign of peace to others, am I really wishing them peace of spirit or just shaking hands, emptily saying a church-y version of “hello”? Do I wish everyone in my life peace, or is there a person that I need to reconcile with before approaching the altar, like in Matthew chapter 5? 

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