Tuesday 19 May 2015

4th Sunday of Advent Year C

As humans, I believe most of us long or desire for peace, peace not only in our families, society and the world, but also peace in ourselves. But the reality is that we live in a world where conflicts and misunderstandings are becoming part and parcel of life. As time goes by, we seem to see more and more violence, hatred and wars, as well as problems occurring not only in society but also in our own families. Some of us may start to think that peace is only a dream or an illusion, and that peace can never be attained.

But let us ask ourselves sincerely: Do we really understand what peace means? Peace is not merely an absence of violence and conflict. Peace is possible even in the midst of conflict, since peace is not only what we experience externally but something that must take root in our hearts. If there is no peace in our hearts, we can never experience peace outside of ourselves. We experience conflict in our hearts, simply because we constantly want to have things according to our ways, in other words, we want to be in control. The problem with wanting things according to our ways is that sometimes we are never in control of the situation. When we don’t get things our way, we become unhappy and won’t have peace in our hearts. The only way in which we can find peace is to allow God to take control of our lives. In the second reading, we are reminded of Christ, who came to obey the will of God the Father. When we come to realise that God's ways are not our ways, and we are willing to surrender our lives to God, then we will have peace in our hearts.

So how do we start having or initiating peace? One way could be found in today's Gospel: by offering and accepting hospitality. When we offer hospitality to one another just like Mary and Elizabeth offered hospitality and friendship to one another, peace takes place. It is when we refuse to offer hospitality to another person or when we refuse the hospitality given by another person that causes the lack of peace. We don’t need to accomplish great things or wait for great events that cause peace to take place. Peace can be a possibility today, when we are willing give or receive a simple word of encouragement, a kind act, a loving offer of help. Peace begins when each and every one of us believe we can make a difference, beginning with ourselves, and we are humble and willing to let the Lord be our help and guide, since as the first reading reminds us: "He himself will be peace."

Some of us may feel overwhelmed, thinking that we are only one person. What can one person do, some may ask. What is important to note here is that we should not worry or fret. We can make a difference, especially when we allow God to take control of our lives, when we are willing to surrender our lives to Him. When we do this, we will find peace, peace even in the midst of problems and difficulties. As we prepare to welcome Jesus, our Prince of Peace, this coming Christmas, may we continue to depend on God's care and providence, and experience true peace only He can give.

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