Friday, December 24, 2010
When Christ was born, Luke reports that a multitude of angels sang "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will." Yet, Christ himself says "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division" (Luke 12: 51).
Most of us hope for peace, and tonight we salute each other with the peace of Christ. While we do that we think that threat to world security and ours are those political and military powers who run the show. North Korea is one example. Iran and Israel are probably preparing for a showdown one day not too far. Christians are killed in Iraq and their celebration of Christmas has been cancelled this year after so many threats the Churches received. Wikileaks are top news as the founder has been condemned to throwing out in the light of the Internet the secret files of highly classified documents in the ever continuing espionage between the powers of the world!
But Christ warns us that his peace is different from the calm that precedes the storm. He, in fact, provokes everyone to examine his conscience before he takes sides and sits in judgment of others. His peace is a dividing peace for in his time Simon prophesied that Christ will be a sign of contradiction. Many will rise and many will fall because of Him. We simply cannot ignore Christ as the provoker whose sharp words against the hypocrites still resound today.
The entire world wants security but only false security can it attain since it continues to ignore Christ. Christ's peace comes with a cost: the cost of inner reconciliation with myself, my fellow humans and with Him my God. It demands sacrifice and wisdom. But it all is based on love in truth. If Christ were a pacifist how could he be condemned to death? On the contrary "he came to his own and his own received him not" (John 1: 11). His own Jewish people who proclaimed him king also crucified him for he did not do as they wished but only the truth of His Father. What more do we need to understand the peace of Christ? What would you do if Christ is born today? Only a question.