Reflecting on Mark 6:30-34
The other day I heard a touching account of a young couple who spent the last seventeen years bringing the Gospel to the remote tribes of West Africa. Unlike earlier missionaries who refused to learn from and adapt to African culture (the hapless preacher in The Poisonwood Bible comes to mind), this couple simply brought friendship to the Bini peoples. These bush-people had never seen a white person, never had any contact with anyone outside of their own region, and the enmities and hatreds of hundreds of years of strife between the tribes was always present.
These ancient Africans are mostly animists, holding that souls and spirits exist in everything. But here’s the thing: none of these spirits offered a way out of their rage against neighboring tribes that had looted their land and murdered their families over the centuries. War, and war, and war, and still no peace.
And then this couple, over years of friendship, told them the Good News which we hear in the second reading from Ephesians today: For he is our peace, he who made us one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh. He came and preached peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near.
This astounding good news—that forgiveness and reconciliation are the only way out of the dead end of endless war—was embraced by many of the friends they made there. This Jesus knew betrayal and the agony of the cross, and his response was pure forgiveness. And the world is still learning how to stand in that grace.
No Jesus? No peace. Know Jesus? Know peace.
And now comes the news of the massacre in Aurora. Who can speak in the face of such horror?
Oh Jesus, our only peace, we cry out to you today. Send your angels to hold those who grieve. Send you healing upon those who are injured. Send your Holy Spirit to convert our culture from its attraction to guns and violence.
You are our peace. Transform us into peacemakers. AMEN.
Is the peace that Jesus offered making a difference in your life?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).