Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finding Peace in God's mission

Fourteenth Ordinary Sunday Year C

When we open the newspapers and switch on the TV – what are we confronted with? Violence, wars, robbery, rape, murders, etc. When we look at our own lives, we seem to be experiencing problems, sometimes one after another. We don’t seem to have a way out. In the midst of all our troubles and worries, I am sure that the one thing we really desire is this – Peace.

What does peace mean? For many people, peace means the cessation of conflict and violence. This is an external kind of peace. But true peace can come to us even in the midst of problems and difficulties. Peace is never dependent on what happens to our surroundings. Rather, peace is what takes place in our hearts – it is the peace which Christ gives, the peace which the world cannot give.

The first reading gives a message of hope and joy to Jerusalem. Within this message is the promise of peace. The words may not appear strange to us. We can only understand the strangeness of this promise when we come to know that it was written during a time of suffering where Jerusalem is in ruins and under the rule of some foreign power. So, the reading tells us that joy and peace can be present even in the midst of our problems. Joy and peace can be present because it is based on the knowledge and faith that God will not abandon us and is always faithful to us. Joy and peace is possible if we can accept that God is in control even when we seem to have lost control and everything appears to be in confusion.

We can experience true peace when we are prepared to accept that only God alone is in control of our lives and of the situation in which we live in. When we try to solve problems on our own without any reference to God, we will not have any peace. In fact, our anxiety and sense of frustration may even increase when we try to take things into our own hands. We will experience turmoil and confusion especially when we think we know what is best for ourselves and for others and insist that God should also follow our way of thinking. When things do not happen according to what we have planned or prayed for, we become frustrated and angry.

How can we experience the peace of Christ? We can experience this peace if we are prepared to die to our selfish wants. We must crucify our ego to the cross of Jesus as St. Paul did, as we are told in the second reading. Dying to ourselves means that we are allowing God to take control of our lives. That is the reason why Jesus tells his disciples not to bring along “any purse, or haversack or sandals” on their mission. All these things can give the disciples a false sense of security. These things will tempt the disciples into believing that they are in control of their lives. Rather, the disciples must accept that it is the one who sends them, Jesus, who will be the one who will sustain them and guide them on their mission. They will experience true peace when they realize that their mission is only a small part of the greater mission of Christ and of God.

We are called by Jesus to be peace-makers, to be messengers of hope and peace to those whom we meet. We are called to die to our own wants and the need to be in control of our lives and the lives of others. Let us during this Mass, pray for the grace to submit ourselves more willingly to God’s will. Let this be our constant prayer: “Not our will but God’s will be done.”

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