Shaping the kingdom of peace means exercising peace
by Sister Francis Bangert
Today we are again presented with important lessons for living a mature Christian life. The message is not with the usual sweet, comforting words but with challenging actions. Our teachers are David in the Old Testament and Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.
In the first reading, David is given the chance to kill King Saul who, in ruthless jealousy, is pursuing David. David rises above the violent act of murder choosing instead to act respecting “the Lord’s anointed”. A life is saved. This kind of nonviolent action appears again in the Gospel. Jesus teaches by word and later by His own example that when confronted by hatred, hostility, the "enemy", one should act in such a way that will disarm the offender. To do this is to imitate the Holy One, who sends the sun and rain to fall on the just and the unjust: to imitate the Most High, Pure Love, who is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
This is a tall order from our Leader. We all recognize our usual behaviors when we are unjustly attacked or criticized for our ideas, opinions, or actions. How do we begin to take on the mind and heart of Jesus and shape a kingdom of justice and peace? For a start:
- cling to Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life
- release all bitterness and the need to be right
- release the need to hate, to harbor division, to seek revenge
- embrace truth, humility and respect for the other which lead to peace and unity
- give voice to unjust systems that keep persons in bondage
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (1874-1936) noted English writer, philosopher, and lay theologian once wrote:
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting ...
It has been found difficult ... and left untried.”
Perhaps an upcoming Lenten resolution might be to explore how each of us still need to grow in order to be a mature Christian?