Ever been curious why people don’t really want to be Christians anymore? I think it is because they are not recognized as children of God. When was the last time you saw a Christian in America talking about peace, much less making any. Instead we make peacekeeper missiles.
The word peacemaker is only used once in the whole Bible, here in this beatitude. It literally means, “one who reconciles quarrels.” Reconciliation is key. Peace through reconciliation rather than peace through might. There must be consistency through the mean to the end. So there is no way to peace except through peacemaking.
History teaches us that humans believe they can achieve peace through violence. The Roman’s believed in the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome. But we know that Rome was seldom at peace. The wars were (almost) always on the outskirts of the empire, out in the colonies. At the center of the empire, in the city of Rome, they had peace, because they had exported the violence. That’s not peace. Today we all feel safe and far from the dangers of war in our comfortable suburbs and gated communities, but our country has killed thousands overseas in the past decade. Do you have any idea of the oppression, slavery, torture, and killing that is required to keep the peace at the center of any empire?
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us a new way. We call it the Pax Christi. A peace made with mercy, forgiveness, and justice. A peace created by self-sacrifice, rather than sacrificing those on the bottom. It is a peace beyond all understanding and will never be the political agenda of any political party or nation. I remember President Obama claimed that no military could survive the Sermon on the Mount and he was right. Shame on the Republicans for disagreeing.
Christians claim to be pro-life, but many if not most also support the death penalty for those who are “not innocent.” It disturbs me how so many Christians want to decide for themselves when they support life. Being pro-life means supporting life from the womb to the tomb. From conception to natural death.
When I was in prison, I was on the unit that held Death Row. The prison was the primary employer of the small town. Our priest was the parish priest of the town, and he was vocally pro-life. When I worked in the laundry, my boss told me when he began to preach against the death penalty, and how one by one everyone in the church walked out on him. She was so mad at him. People do not like it when you stand up for life, and for peace. Not when it goes against the status-quo. They will call you unpatriotic, a coward, a troublemaker, or a punk.
Jesus is trying to tell us that we can never decide who lives and who dies. Every human is created in the image of God, and we all carry the Divine spark.