Conflict is in our world. There is no getting around it. It is staggering to think that in the past four thousand years, there have only been less than three hundred years of peace. 300! Countries get mad, cities get invaded, and peace goes out the window.
Conflict is in our lives. There is no getting around it. Our nearest and dearest - whether they are neighbors, co-workers, classmates, friends, or family - eventually get under our skin. Even if we are a generally mellow soul. Feelings get hurt, words get said, and peace goes out the window.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a way beyond conflict? Wouldn't it be great if it didn't have to be this way? What would it take for us, for our families, for the world to leave conflict behind? Where can we find . . . peace?
We may strive for peace on earth. We may hope to achieve the end of wars. The Romans were known for conquering the world and establishing the Pax Romana, a centuries-long peace throughout the empire. But despite this great achievement, the war over the individual soul still waged.
The Gospel claims that God laid down arms against us. Think about that. He abandoned vengeance and retribution, poured it out on His Son, and offers peace for all who will likewise lay down their arms. And as we receive peace, we are told to be peacemakers.
I wish we had more peacemakers. I wish I was better at being a peacemaker. In the words of Francis of Assissi:
Seigneur, faites de moi un instrument de votre paix. Là où il y a de la haine, que je mette l'amour.
(Lord, make us instruments of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.