Exodus 1:8-14, 22
Friends of mine recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Lake Tahoe. The cool blue and aquamarine waters, reflecting the Sierras, were so peaceful. As I walked along the lakeshore, someone said to me: "It doesn’t get better than this!" I had said the same thing earlier to another person. When we are in peaceful situations, it’s easy to feel, to sense, to exude peace. Jesus says to us: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." I might be irreverent then, and respond: "Lord, give me a break! I thought you always give peace." Of course, Jesus does, in his own way, which so often surprises and baffles us. He gives us peace, when, after reflecting on a family or community disagreement, we have the courage to ask for forgiveness. God gives us peace when we reflect upon the lives of the prophets and how they persevered in getting God’s word across to the people (see Jeremiah 6:14: "Peace, peace, they say, though there is no peace").
Jesus’ peace is many faceted, giving us consolation in the midst of mourning, challenging us to confront injustice. It is the peace we long for, not only for ourselves and for our own, but for whole nations, especially Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. It is the peace that the Hebrew people, experiencing their cruel slavery in Egypt in our first reading longed for.
May the peace of Christ, la paz del Senor, fill our being. May we be channels of peace to others.
PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. (anonymous)
Fr. Bob Bovenzi, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community stationed in Chicago, Illinois.