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Father Muench Says...

Disciples of the Lord in world of violence

May 25, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I was greatly disturbed by the news of the mass shooting at the Tops Market in Buffalo. Many were killed. I often shop at our local Tops Market. I could imagine how shocking that scene must have been in Buffalo. I thought of how peaceful and friendly my shopping excursions here were like.

So, you and I live in a very violent world. We know that Jesus lived in a very violent world. We know that only too well. Each time we enter our church, the very first thing we see is the cross of Jesus over the sanctuary.

Today, as I was preparing my homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, I realized that here was Jesus’ solution for us to learn. This was his challenge to us as disciples of the Lord in this world of violence. Jesus called his apostles and all of us followers ever since to be people of peace – to live well the Lord’s way of peace. Jesus makes this promise to us, “Peace, I leave you, my peace I give to you.” As Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, he taught us that the Holy Spirit would come to show us the way of peace and remind us of all that Jesus told us – to be people of peace.

I found this somewhere: “We, the disciples of the Lord are called to transform the world with the peace of the Lord. How can we attain the peace which the Lord Jesus offers us? Through the gift and work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, the Lord shows us how to yield our passions of anger and fear to him – so that we can receive his gift of peace.”

Jesus gives us the power of the Holy Spirit and leads us, challenges us to bring the Lord’s peace into our divided and violent world. We are called as Christians to become people of peace, to live and love each day in peace. This is our vocation. This is not a naïve mission. We have to do something now ourselves to remove anger and hatred from our own lives and from our world, and to truly makes this world of ours a better place. We do this not just by praying, although that is important, for sure, but also by the way we live our lives.

Peace is a serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of mind, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. It removes hatred, settles wars, restrains wrath, loves the humble, pacifies the discordant and makes enemies agree.

I truly believe that each day the Lord places into our lives unique opportunities for us to do something that is truly peaceful, something that bring peace into someone else’s life. Such an opportunity may be simple, but often many simple things may be so powerful, more powerful than we can ever imagine – removing from our hearts a temptation to anger, changing a moment of hatred to love and peace, saying and doing the right thing, words of peace and love. In this way, the world is transformed. We make the world a better place.

I know also that some of you may be challenged to do something great, a challenge you could barely imagine, that will be truly bring peace to our world.

Thomas Merton wrote this: “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business. What we are asked to do is to love and this love will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy, if anything can.”

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