Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hospitality and Peace

Fourth Sunday of Advent Year C

One of the greatest desires of every person is that of peace. We constantly hear this all the time. We realize that money cannot always buy happiness. We experience that conflicts and misunderstandings are part and parcel of life. But there is one thing we always hope for is peace. Firstly, it is peace for ourselves and then peace for others – our family, our society and the world.

But in world that is so filled with violence, hatred and wars, where we see conflicts occurring not only in society but also in our own families, we may start to think that peace is only a dream. It is easy to be disillusioned and to feel that peace can never be attained. The problem lies with our incorrect understanding of what peace really means. Peace is not to absence or the cessation of violence and conflict. Peace is possible even in the midst of conflict. Peace is not only an external reality but something that must take root in our hearts. If there is no peace in our hearts, we can never experience peace outside of ourselves.

A great deal of unrest is caused by the unrest in our hearts. There can be no rest in our hearts as long as we constantly want to have things according to our ways. The problem with wanting things according to our ways is that we are never in control of the situation. We want our children to grow up and be successful. We want them to marry good wives and husbands. But we are not in control of these things. When we don’t get things our way, we will not be happy. We won’t have peace in our hearts. The only way in which we can find peace is to allow God to take control of our lives. In the second reading, we are given the example of Christ, who came to obey the will of God the Father. When we are prepared to allow God have his ways and not our ways, then we will have peace in our hearts. It is only when we have peace in our hearts that we can become peacemakers.

It doesn’t take much to be a peacemaker. Today’s gospel gives us one simple way of making peace – hospitality. When we offer hospitality to one another just like Mary and Elizabeth offered hospitality and friendship to one another, peace takes place. It is when we refuse to offer hospitality to another person or when we refuse the hospitality given by another person that causes the lack of peace. We don’t have to begin by trying to solve all the problems of the world. We don’t have to wait till countries stop producing weapons of war. We don’t have to wait for violence to end. Peace can be a possibility today. All it takes is a simple word of encouragement, a kind act, a loving offer of help. Peace begins when we believe we can make a difference, beginning with ourselves.

A little baby that was born 2000 years ago to a poor family made a difference. In the face of so much opposition and where so much hate and violent exists, one man who spoke of peace made a difference. When so many people were unable to forgive one another for the injury that they have done to one another, a single man on a cross was able to make a difference by forgiving his executors. That man is Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus was able to change the course of history, world events and lives of so many people without lifting a gun, starting a war or ruling a country. If today you feel that you are just one person, don’t worry. You too can make a difference. Start by allowing God to take control of your lives. Surrender your life to him and you will find peace, peace even in the midst of problems and difficulties.

1 comment:

  1. Remembered your dad in prayers.
    The last two lines are most encouraging for me, that we have a GOD who cares.


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