Are we prepared to receive Jesus Christ and his heavenly love and peace into our hearts? This Advent, let us make it our goal to be peacemakers by living God’s truth in love.
Today’s first reading comes from the book of the Prophet Isaiah who prophesies that a virgin will give birth to a child who will bring peace to the world. We know this to be the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her divine Son, Jesus Christ.
We heard how the nations will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again… Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”
As Christians, we have the means to walk in the light of the Lord in order to bring peace to our homes, our schools and businesses, and eventually to our world. We walk in the light of the Lord by doing simple things with great love.
This is what Pope Francis has been doing and preaching about. He has traveled to over 30 countries where there has been much conflict between various peoples. His message is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Love God and one another. Learn to forgive and talk with one another.
Of course, we need to love God first and fore-most because he is the source of love, forgiveness and peace. In loving God above all things, we can truly love our neighbor as our self.
Imagine yourself getting up in the morning and praying with one billion other Catholics who know that they are called to be peacemakers, by starting their day with making the sign of the cross and praying, “Our Father, who art in heaven…give us this day, our daily bread…and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. This is the first step of becoming a great peacemaker.
The second step is to love one another by respecting one another. Sometimes we do not always get our way, but does that mean we need to talk about others, when in fact they are trying to do their best to do the right thing in light of the problems in the world.
Unfortunately, many people do not want to talk about the problems, but just want to have fun. But as Catholics, we are called to have fun by solving problems together with the light of faith!
We have a good example and model of this in Pope Francis. He is going into some of the poorest places, and some of the most violent places of the world, to share the message that we must forgive one another – which is the beginning of solving the world’s problems.
This is a difficult thing to do, to forgive one another and begin to talk with one another about our commitment to God’s plan of peace, love and truth.
How do we do become peace makers with those who we do not like or avoid? By first praying to God for that person, that we love them and show respect for that person and everyone. We need to put aside our defenses and see what the Gospel of life, the Gospel of sacrificial love and peace is trying to teach us.
This Advent, these four weeks leading up to Christmas, may families light the Advent wreath before every supper, or whenever most of them can gather together, and pray an “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” for God’s peace and true love. By doing this you open yourself up to what Mary, the Mother of Jesus, must have experienced waiting for her newborn child to bring God’s light of love and peace into the world.
Let us pray every morning and night with Jesus, “Our Father, who art in heaven… forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And then, honoring Mary, the greatest of all Catholic Christian Saints, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
If we prepare each day by praying to God through Jesus Christ, with the help of Mary, and 1 billion other Catholics, we will be able to travel the new world over as God’s peacemakers who await Christ’s second coming in glory. Amen.