Perhaps you might receive a Christmas card with the inscription Peace on Earth. When Christ was born, there was period of relative peace known as the Pax Romana throughout the known world. The power and might of the Roman Empire and its army allowed for a temporary period of peace. However, where is the great Roman Empire now? Its eventual collapse came from within as the moral fiber of the society eventually disintegrated.
Our world is in desperate need of peace. We are all too familiar with the continuing war in Ukraine. However, a simple computer search for a list of current wars/conflicts throughout the world would probably shock you. Most of the time we simply are not informed about various matters around the globe. Yet they continue. How then can we achieve a true and lasting peace?
We call Christ the Prince of Peace. I suggest that His Gospel message needs to take deep root in our hearts. We have heard much about radicalization in the news. Jesus' message is one of love, forgiveness, mercy and peace. Christians and all people of good will should know that war, violence, hatred, revenge, terrorism, and the murder of innocents is never the ultimate answer.
While there are those who find little time for prayer or may even mock it, I think prayer is the means by which we will find a solution to our world (as well as individual) problems. A return to God and a more complete discipleship to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the only way we are going to have true and lasting peace. Jesus did not die on the cross so that everything that He said and did would come to naught. Every subsequent generation must heed His Gospel message, be converted, and allow the Gospel to be deeply rooted in the heart. It is Jesus who will transform hatred into love and offer us true peace now as he did then.
My hope and prayer is for a better world in which we no longer live in fear. No one likes to be barraged in the news with stories of an unstable world, hatred and violence. I am not so idealistic or naïve to think that we should not remain vigilant and prepared in this sometimes frightening world. Yet, if we want to see things change for the better and not just let this be a bunch of rhetoric, then we will need Divine assistance and a determined commitment on our part to be faith-filled disciples of Jesus.
I am a firm believer that God's patience and mercy are directed toward our salvation. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) God often works slowly and ever so subtly. May we have the resolve to embrace the cross of Jesus, to accept His mercy while we are still able, and to do our part to build up the Kingdom of God. Then we will experience His true and lasting peace.
As Advent comes to a close, please use the remaining time to prepare your minds and hearts for the Lord’s birth, for His return in glory and for the coming of His Kingdom.
Fr. Ed Namiotka