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Father Muench Says...

A timely beatitude: be a peacemaker!

October 15, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Today, we consider a beatitude that is rather timely.  This world of ours needs peacemakers.  We are all sick of all the violence and war in this world.  Everywhere we look there is violence.  Even, here, in our own land, these is too much violence – too many guns – too much anger. We certainly need many, many peacemakers.

In this beatitude, Jesus tells us that the road to happiness is by becoming a peacemaker.  For as a peacemaker, we will have that unique relationship with God becoming children of God.  To become a peacemaker, we must find peace.  However, peace seems too far out of reach – even in our own life – definitely, in our world and community.  Too often, I wonder what I could ever do to make the world more peaceful.

Yet, the Lord insists that I must be a peacemaker – then I will be a child of God.

So, to be a peacemaker, I must understand peace, how to be a person of peace.  Peace is not about an easy and tranquil life.  To be a peacemaker I must demonstrate my faith to the world by living in peace, by doing what is right and good in the Spirit of Jesus.  You see we can be people of peace even in a broken, violent world, when we live in a right and good way.  In this way, we bring peace to this world.  The God of peace will guide and lead us.

Scripture helps us here.  Recently, the Second Reading at a Sunday Mass was from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, chapter 4.  In this section, Paul teaches his people and us how we can find peace and then bring peace to others.

Paul begins this section by saying – “Have no anxiety.”  My response to Paul is that I am always worrying.  I worry about myself, I worry about my family, I worry about many of my friends, many former parishioners.  The reality is that there is no way to avoid all worry. Good and sincere people have worries because they are people who care, who care about loved ones and many others and they want to do something.

Here – Paul is writing about anxiety.  Anxiety is the kind of worry that paralyzes, that keeps a person from doing anything.  This anxiety is rooted in a lack of trust in oneself, in others, and especially in God.  Anxiety keeps a person from doing something – anything - to help make the world a better place.  Paul says get rid of anxiety.  Anxiety must never keep us from being people of peace.

To be this kind of person, St. Paul tells us to pray, to commit our cares to the Lord.  Prayer means we are willing to do something and we ask God for support and strength.  Then, in prayer, we leave all we are unable to do in the hands of our loving God.  In faith, we accept what happens as God’s will, even though we may not understand it.

In prayer, we establish a unique relationship with God that helps us to find the peace of God.  St. Paul tells us that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  This peace of God leads us to live in that peace and bring peace to our world.

Also, in this section, St. Paul tells us to think positively.  In this way, we will find the peace of Christ.  Paul cleverly puts it this way, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 

Thinking positively makes us Christlike; when our focus is negative, we become closed, very negative, inactive people.  As such we are far from the peace of God.  As negative people, we are convinced that we can do nothing.

Finally, St. Paul writes to his people to follow his example. By doing what should and must be done with the dedication and spirit of St. Paul, doing all that he has taught you, the God of peace will be with you.  You will be a peacemaker.

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