Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Mt 5:9)
The late Archbishop Oscar Romero once said:
“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.”
According to Fr. Daniel Harrington, S.J., “the background [of this beatitude] is the Old Testament ideal of shalom as the fullness of God’s gifts. In following Jesus, we are required to actively pursue peace so that we may join the angels at the last judgment.” (Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Matthew, pp. 79-80) Drawing upon our living together as peacemakers (Isaiah 60:17; 54:10; 52:7), “a continued peace will be dependent upon our ability to live together in covenant faithfulness.” (Farmer, The International Bible Commentary: A Catholic Commentary for the Twenty-First Century, pp. 1271)
Fr. Michael Crosby, O.F.M. Cap. goes further:
“Because he was obedient to God’s plan throughout his life, Jesus was called Son by God. Unwittingly, he was also called Son of God by the representatives of the society that rejected his message of peace. At the very time he appeared like God’s Son to them (Mt. 27:42—‘He saved others, he cannot save himself’), he proved he was God’s Son (Mt 27:54—‘The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said—Truly this was the Son of God’); he had remained faithful. Even though Jesus’ fidelity brought him to his passion and death, he remained abandoned to the will of God (Mt 26:36-46). His commitment stood in direct contradiction to the way society envisioned the way messianic peace ought to come into the world.” (Spirituality of the Beatitudes: Matthew’s Challenge for First World Christians, pp. 178-179)
In our own lives, how often have we been willing participants to the world around us? To say this another way, how often have we ceded to the status quo, even when its means have been opposed to peace?
In pursuing the peace of Christ, may we always remember the words Jesus has given us:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27)
May we begin.