Through his very birth, death and resurrection, Jesus calls us to peace
Last week I received a call from a disgruntled reader. While sometimes such calls are difficult, most often I remind myself that all people are entitled to their opinions and it is a healthy sign that we are doing our job as a newspaper…that is to make people think, reflect and enter into discussion on topics that are relevant to our lives, and in the case of the Northwest Indiana Catholic, our faith.
This gentleman took issue with a front page story concerning the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision not to indict in the Michael Brown case. St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson urged the people to “Choose peace,” over the ensuing violence.
My caller felt the archbishop’s words were “trite” and the story about rejecting violence as a way to solve problems was irrelevant.
While I could appreciate the caller’s frustration – many of us are frustrated with the violence that pervades our world these days - I explained the story covered an event. In this case it was the archbishop issuing a public statement to his people in an attempt to stem the tide of continuing violence. And, as a journalist, it is not ethical to change the archbishop’s quote. I cannot change the intent of a story or words being quoted to bend them to my own will.
That being said, I thanked the caller and hung up the phone. However the call bothered me all weekend and, at first, I was puzzled as to why. Then it came to me.
The words “Choose peace,” were not trite. The message was simple and profound, based firmly in the message of Jesus.
Study the life of Christ, pay attention to how many times he said, “Peace be with you!” This wasn’t a polite salutation for our Lord; it was a message to be taken to heart. Embracing God’s peace and incorporating it into our lives, not just during the hour we spend in church each week, is a lifelong pursuit and a responsibility we all hold.
Jesus was born in the quiet of a stable with only the soft breathing of the animals surrounding him to be heard. The sky was dark, the air still, yet the light of the stars shone through. Can you imagine a more peaceful and bucolic setting? The infant Jesus entered our world in peace. Peace was his message throughout his ministry. Trite? Hardly!
I’ve found a step-by-step plan laid out by Jesus… a surefire way to obtain peace. Instead, he lived his very life grounded in God’s peace and – peace be with you – hoped we would do the same. God’s peace was, and is, there for the taking, we just need to reach out and embrace it in our own lives, within our circle of family and friends, but also with those we so struggle mightily to love.
Peace will never be achieved if we continue to point our fingers toward others, saying, “Do something.” If everyone would tend to their own houses, determine where peace is needed and take the needed steps toward reconciliation, we would realize that profound effect on the world for which we long so desperately.