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21st June: Beatitudes (8) -- The Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 (AV)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 (AV)

Peacemaking is different from protesting at war and the nuclear arms race. Creating peace between people who hate each other demands commitment and often personal sacrifice, for the peacemaker may get in the line of fire from both sides of a conflict. Turning enemies into friends is a healing of society as surely as a surgical operation or a correctly prescribed medicament is a cure for disharmony within the body, and so Christian doctors have a part to play as peacemakers.

It is worth pondering differences in meaning of the word 'peace'. What is 'peace' to a Christian is not 'peace' to a Marxist. So we need to be wary! We need 'the peace of God which passes understanding...' Nevertheless, there is a link between societal peace and social justice. Peace is constructive, never static. It is a pathway, a way of travelling, and stems from change in entrenched attitudes. None of this denies that both personal and societal peace is a fruit of the Spirit. But God uses human hands to bring peace to fruition. Jesus said peace makers are blessed, not peaceful people. There is a distinction -- and it is the former who 'shall be called the children of God'.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me show love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union.
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Attributed to St Francis.

Further reading: Is 58:6-12.

DA

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