3rd Sunday of Lent
We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~Rm 5:1
“The tranquility of order” is how St. Augustine defines peace in The City of God. This order results when something finds that for which it is searching. The dog experiences peace when it finds its bone. The runner experiences peace when he finds the finish line. The human being experiences peace when he finds his home. Ultimate peace is to be found in God alone, and truly only once we have completed our journey to God. Often times we confuse peace with concord or agreement. We believe that if we are able to arrive at the same opinion as another, to agree with another, this is peace. This is how most in the world conceive of peace, like the Pax Romana, or other periods devoid of armed conflicts and marked by social stability. Though peace does indeed include concord and agreement, these are not peace. “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you.” St. Augustine’s confession clarifies that merely agreeing with everyone around us is not enough to find peace. We have to find God first.
Pope St. Paul VI once said: “If you want peace, work for justice.” Justice is a necessary step towards reaching peace, for justice removes obstacles to that goal. Justice alone, though, is still insufficient. If we want peace, world peace, it will not come through government programs or the efforts of NGOs. Peace, ultimate peace, is through Christ alone. It is a peace that is first experienced, not as a global reality, but an inner reality. In justice, now is the time to remove those obstacles to God’s peace within us: vice. Our Lenten disciplines have as their ultimate objective God’s peace in our hearts. The first step towards a more just social order is my deeper conversion, turning more intensely to the One who died for me, a sinner.
Fr. Richard Hinkley