By Fr. Frank J. Timar, MSC
However we describe it, we all want peace. And God wants peace for us too, but a peace that is widely encompassing. God wants peace between people, peace within families, peace between races, peace among nations. That’s what God really wants for all of us, and for God, it is never peace at any price. Jesus warned us up front that we who do the will of the Father will encounter conflict.
Jesus had much to say to His disciples the night before He made the supreme sacrifice. He told them that if they loved Him they would keep His commandments, and He assured them that God would empower them with the Holy Spirit. Then He spoke to them of peace: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
These are truly some profound words. We cannot make peace in the world without having something of Christ’s peace in our hearts. On the other hand, we cannot have His peace in our hearts without making His peace in the world. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Making Christ’s peace with our neighbor may be the only way of genuinely having Christ’s peace in us.
What a world we live in! We continue to spend way too much building the weapons of war. There is little peace of mind when we use other people for our own selfish needs. We have little or no peace in our hearts when we are driven by our wish to succeed and when winning is everything, and people become expendable. There is so little peace of mind when we can’t keep commitments, when we can’t live by faith, or can’t love. Perhaps then we are not surprised that, after all these centuries, it is still neighbor against neighbor, nation against nation, religion against religion. So long as there is conflict within us, there will be conflict in our external world.
Jesus promised to send another Advocate, the Spirit of truth, to abide within us. He asks us to open our hearts and invite God’s Spirit to come into our lives. We think money will make us happy, but the Spirit of truth teachers us that happiness cannot be bought. We think power and control are important, but the Spirit of truth teaches us that kindness and love are more important. And it is God’s Spirit living in us that inspires us to go out into the whole world, sharing God’s love and working for peace.