Last Friday we remembered the horror of September 11, 2001 and the 3000+ people who lost their lives in the attack on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the plane that went down in Shanksville, PA. We also remembered the heroes from that day, the fireman and first responders who ran into the burning buildings to save people’s lives, and those on planes that stepped up with courage in the hopes of saving others. Ordinary men and women who put others before themselves and helped us understand, in some small way, the heart and mind of Jesus. They are the ones that mirror the life of Jesus, the ones who lived the message of the beatitudes.
In our present world climate where we seem to be on the brink of war most days, where people are being treated inhumanely at our borders and in our city streets, where children are separated from parents and put in cages, where people who are peacefully protesting are experiencing violence not planned for, there is so much chaos. What is the ordinary Christian to do? How do we mirror the heart and mind of Jesus in this chaotic environment? How do we live as a disciple of Jesus? When these questions arise in me or are put to me by another, I go back to the Beatitudes, those attitudes that teach us about Christian discipleship and can inform the decisions we make in our daily life.
Amid the current climate I think often about this beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” These are the ones that reject violence and oppression, who search for ways to mutual understanding, who try to defend the innocent without resorting to violence. These are the ones that mirror a way of transforming love. “Love your enemy, do good to those who hurt you, return good for evil” the Scriptures tell us. Mirror the actions and way of life of Jesus.
To be a peacemaker in the world today means to be aligned in a holy direction, becoming mindful of the ways one contributes to violence through a thousand thoughts and the smallest of actions. The call is to become a living emblem of peace, to seek out ways of transparency and true communication and dialogue. The call is to mirror the life of Jesus by being gentle and compassionate, thirsting for honesty and truth in the face of injustice, being merciful and forgiving with others, checking how we perceive those who are different from ourselves. Mirroring the life of Jesus is to be open and sincere with eyes to see God present in the least likely places. Pope Francis has said that holiness is not so much about “great deeds and extraordinary events” but rather “daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.”
The Beatitudes are the way of life Jesus gave us so that we can follow in his footsteps and truly reflect what it means to be a Christian disciple. We are called to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus. Have you looked in the mirror lately? What kind of disciple do you see reflected there?
Barbara McMullen, CDP