May grace and peace be given you by God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every second that goes by, every hour and every day we can count on the grace and the peace of the Lord. We can have the assurance that peace and grace are not inaccessible or illusory gifts.
Peace and grace are truly gifts of God. Still the apostle never stops praying for these gifts. He prays for the grace that is the gift of living in communion with God by Jesus Christ. He prays for grace because it is only available if we desire it above all else, only if we seek it with all our heart. We cannot eat and drink the grace of God if we do not hunger and thirst for it.
With grace comes peace. Men and women who live in communion with God also live in peace with one another. They reject arguments and criticism. They prefer edifying words to reprimands. They prefer to be slow to speak and quick to listen to others.
The apostle prays that grace and peace be given to his brothers and sisters. Without waiting for our neighbor to hunger for grace, let us pray that he get it. Without waiting for a community to seek to leave in peace, let us pray for the gift of peace for that community. May we be intercessors for our brothers and sisters, and even our enemies, in all things.
But if grace and peace are gifts of God, why are we living in the midst of sorrow or trials? Because we are a part of the human family. Sorrow is shared by the entire human community. Every human being has faced, is facing, or will face sorrow, the loss of someone who is dearer to us than our own life. However, in the midst of sorrow, communion with God is not broken. We are in tears, hurt by this loss, but we are still before his throne. What counts is the gesture of turning towards his grace, even if we turn towards his grace with tears in our eyes or a wounded heart. In this life, we are in an arena filled with angry lions, but we keep our eyes fixed on him. And when we keep looking to him, his grace and peace keep us filled with hope.
The peace of the Lord is very near, even in the torments that the trials of life inflict upon us. This peace is seen especially in our capacity to live in peace with others. The peace of the Lord is not a sentimentality that would have no incidence on the unceasing conflicts of our world. The peace the Old and New Testament speak of is the peace between nations, races, ethnicities, poor and rich, slaves and masters, men and women, churches, or different communities. The sorrows and trials of life can drag us into bitterness, or even hate. Or they can produce in us the fruits of grace and peace.
Grace and peace are always there for you, even when you suffer. God can make your tears a beneficial rain on dry ground if you come to him with all your heart and you seek peace with all men.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romains 12:17-18)