Matt Lorrain, Pastor
St. John the Baptist Church
The Gospel selection for Mass last Thursday was Luke 12:49-53, which includes the following strong language of Jesus directed to his disciples: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the Earth? No, I tell you, not peace but rather division.”
Those words of Jesus are a little jarring since Christians rightly think of Jesus as being the Prince of Peace. And when the risen Christ appeared to his disciples on Easter Sunday evening he addressed them by saying “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
The periodical “Living Faith,” a collection of daily devotions based upon the scripture readings, included a thoughtful reflection from the writer Jessica Mesman Griffith on how we might interpret Jesus’s words in Luke 12. She wrote:
“Maybe our concept of peace is not peace at all. We have often mistaken pleasure and ease for love, when love is really the cross. We have mistaken faith for certainty, when it is really trust. Maybe we have also mistaken peace for comfort, lack of division, fulfillment of worldly needs. But Christ ushers in a new reality, a corrective to the ways of this world. Christ brings a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
A peace that surpasses all understanding. In other words, a peace that is not merely a mental concept or a product of human imagination, but rather a gift from God as a consequence of our embracing a life of faith. Peace is a gift of the heart more so than the mind, that begins to take root in us as we surrender to God’s will.
Our world and our country seem to be experiencing a great deal of unrest and division at the present time. It is very tempting to adopt a pessimistic outlook or even to join the voices on social media who find joy in attacking those who disagree with their worldview. But a person who lacks charity will have a hard time finding a true and lasting peace.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39).
The commandment to love takes precedence over the need to be right all of the time. “Love does no evil to the neighbor,” writes St. Paul in chapter 13, verse 10, of his letter to the Romans. Beautiful words to ponder as we search for a true peace that leads to lasting joy.
The Cornerstone is a weekly column in the West Side Journal that features a West Baton Rouge Parish pastor’s thoughts, teachings and writings. The inspirational messages by the participating pastors are not edited for content by The West Side Journal staff. If your pastor would like to participate in this column, please have them contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, at (225) 343-2540.