My peace I give you, my peace I leave you; let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27).

Peace descends from above; it is the gift by which Christ prepares us to become one in the sacrament of his body and blood. By coming together for the Eucharist, we demonstrate our readiness to forgive one another, to accept the peace of Christ into our hearts, and to exchange it with one another.

The exchange of “the peace” is not the expression of mere good wishes. It is the outward sign of a gift inwardly received. While giving the sign of peace, one may extend a hand, hug, or kiss and say, “Christ’s peace be with you,” or a similar expression. In the early church this rite was sometimes referred to as the “Kiss of Peace.” Jesus is the source and center of our peace and love.