The Peace(?) of God

Mark’s gospel jumps straight to the declaration: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One,” (Mk:1:1).  Then we meet, not Jesus, but the decidedly un-peaceful figure of John the baptizer.  Mark is intensity and disruption almost from the start.  Jesus will not be a peace-bringer either, because this little baby will be all about justice in a world where justice is sadly lacking.  His world and ours.  And as the chant of protestors goes, “No justice, no peace.  No justice, no peace.”  And Pope Paul VI articulated a core of Catholic social teaching:  “If you want peace, work for justice.”

Peace does not mean that life is still not overwhelming and troublesome.  God’s peace exists alongside darkness and pain.  We need to let go of a picture of God as a “great fixer” to whom we appeal to make pain go away.  We find our peace, I submit, in living well, living our lives in a meaningful way, with integrity, building relationships.  There is our personal peace.  The work of life is inherently not peaceful.  There is pain, upset and confusion, and we all have a moment (or more) when we wish it didn’t hurt just to be alive.  Peace comes, as Jesus taught, with the achievement of justice and righteousness, which are always messy and noisy.  Individuals can work for peace, but peace is the achievement of communities – work in which God is always present, right beside us.

Blessings — Pastor Carol 

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