THE RITE OF PEACE
“Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to your apostles? Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,
Look not upon our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will …” After petitioning the Father for the gift of peace, the priest now addresses Jesus, recalling his words to the apostles at the Last Supper: “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you” (Jn 14:27)
Jesus explains that the kind of peace he offers is “not as the world gives.” Christ offers us a deeper, longer lasting peace. When we allow Jesus to be the foundation of our lives and live according to his plan for us, he gives us an internal, spiritual peace that can withstand life’s many disappointments, trials and sufferings. This is the kind of peace of heart that also builds true unity within marriages, families, communities, parishes and nations.The priest then turn towards the people and addresses them with words of peace that recall St. Paul’s greeting of peace found at in many of his letters (Rom1:7; Cor1:3,Gal4:3): “The peace of the Lord be with you always. “ In the Eucharist, we exchange some sign that expresses peace, communion and charity. The sign may vary, depending on local custom. In some settings, it might involve shaking of hands. In others, it might entail bowing one’s head or some other sign. Whatever the gesture, the rite of peace can be seen as connecting Our Father with the reception of holy communion about to take place . We call on God not individually, separated from each other, but together as brother and sisters in God’s covenant family, saying “Our Father who art in heaven….” Now, the sign of peace expresses the unity in a ritual way. The sign of peace symbolically anticipates the profound unity the people will share with each other when they receive Holy Communion.