Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Apr 26, 2021

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. To be a peacemaker, first of all, means that we have to be at peace. We have to be able to clearly rest in God’s peace, in the “peace that surpasses all understanding [that] will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”[Philippians 4:6-7 NSRV]. Paul was able to write this truth about our lives in Christ, because he lived in that peace no matter what was happening to him—shipwrecks or beatings or imprisonment or whatever. Wherever he was, no matter the circumstances, he was able to be at peace. He attracted followers of Christ wherever he was, because he was at peace—jailers or gentiles, Greeks or Romans, the poor or the mighty.


Blessed are the peacemakers; note the active word: peacemakers. They sow the seeds of peace wherever they are, whatever they are doing. When we encounter someone who is at peace no matter what is happening around them, we want to ask:: “How did you do that?” “How can you forget your fear and anger and judgment and every other human emotion like greed and power?” “Tell me how and I’ll do it.”


Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters, God and mammon(KJV) or money(NIV), depending on the translation.(Matthew 6:24) We cannot serve God and be attached to this world, to our culture and how it thinks we should be. We must be more attached to God, a lot more attached to God, than to the world we live in. We must be attached to God’s ways of poverty of spirit, mourning, humility, righteousness, mercy, purity of heart—all the previous rungs of the ladder of the beatitudes before being a peacemaker as described by Jim Forest:[1]


From both the gospel and the liturgy we learn that peace is not a principle, theory, concept, political program, or social ideal              but is Christ himself: Christ who heals, Christ who forgives, Christ who reaches out to the very people, according to the advice            of the world, we should avoid, condemn, and hate….His blessing is on the makers of peace. He requires an active rather than             a  passive role. In fact, peace itself is a dynamic state that can be anything but peaceful from the point of view of those who                 wish people would simply be quiet and do what is expected of them by whoever happens to be in charge.[2]


As I look up modern peacemakers, I am struck by how much they have worked to bring notice and justice and peace and full lives to the oppressed peoples of this world. From Gandhi who used nonviolent protests to free India from British rule, to Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired by Gandhi, who worked tirelessly for years to bring attention to the needs of Black people of our nation for equality, justice, opportunity, and recognition as full citizens, to Mother Teresa who helped the homeless in Calcutta, India, to Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor and author whose message is of peace, to Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela who helped to overturn the apartheid(white) system of government in South Africa. There are so many others, winners of the Nobel Peace Prizes and others, who also have worked tirelessly all over the world to secure the rights of citizens everywhere. In many different ways they have heard God’s call of 2,000 verses in the Bible about helping the poor and needy, plus His call to righteousness and mercy, compassion and love.


First, in becoming peacemakers, we must be at peace within ourselves, deeply resting in Christ’s peace. Then we need to bring that peace wherever we go, to whomever we meet. It isn’t enough to be at peace ourselves. It is like God’s love for us and every other child of God. We are to express that love in everything we do; and we are to express God’s peace to everyone, also. Here is how Jacques Philippe expresses this principle of the Beatitudes:


The quest for interior peace is far more than a search for psychological tranquility. It is concerned with opening up ourselves              to the action of God. One needs to understand a simple but spiritually important truth: the more one tends toward peace, the             more God’s grace can act in one’s life.[3]


And the more we express God’s peace in our lives actively, the more blessings and grace we will receive: “For they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) And, in those children of God, one can see all that God advocates for His children, Christian or not, and how we are to express those qualities of mercy and compassion and justice and love and, peace—through the fruit of the Spirit: “peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control(humility)” (Galatians 5:22-23).


Questions to ponder over the week: Am I at peace with who I am? Do I rest in Christ’s peace? Do I bring that peace to everyone I meet? Have I given up my rebellion and surrendered to God whatever comes into my life? Or do I live in resistance, always wishing for my way to happen?


Blessing for the week:  May we be the people of God who live in the peace He offers us. May we rest comfortably in His arms and in whatever happens to us, knowing that it will be for our good in the end.


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[1] Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes, (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999)

[2] Ibid, pp.111-112

[3] Jacques Philippe,  The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes, (New York: Scepter Publishing, 2018), pp. 187-188

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