Sunday, September 28, 2008




One of the most magnificent engineering accomplishments of our time is the Large Hadron Collider. The figures on this structure are staggering. A tube 4+ meters in diameter (in some places as tall as a 6 story building) 27 km long, constructed 50-175 meters below the surface. The other equally amazing stats can be found at:

The magnitude of this structure is amazing. The complexity is way beyond my comprehension. Even more amazing is that it worked when they started it. Yeah, I know, it blew a gasket shortly afterwards, but still ...

In the shadow of this magnificent accomplishment, we are facing some of the biggest challenges we have ever faced individually and as a race. Challenges that have the potential to destroy us. Why is it that we can create a marvel like the LHC, a marvel that took 20 years to build, yet fail so miserably at engineering a lasting peace?

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”. (Jn 14:27 RSV) We repeat this verse in some form each time we celebrate Holy Communion. It is a central part of Catholicism, a central part of the gifts we receive in the eucharist.

In Jesus’ words, peace is not something we have to struggle for; it is God’s gift to us. If we already have it within us, why then is peace so elusive?

As Christians, we believe that through the Holy Spirit, there is within all of us the ability to center our thoughts and feelings in peace so powerfully that we are not moved by conflict. This is the gift that Jesus has given us. It is the same gift that was given to Daniel as he faced the trials of his captivity.

Yet, as a whole, we do not use the gift. As a whole, we do not have peace in our families. We do not have peace in our communities. We do not have peace in our congregations. Why?

Jesus was very specific in John 14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.

Jesus was a peacemaker. We are commanded to do the works he did, and even greater works.

I offer this post today as an opportunity for all who read it to take some time to reflect. Why is peace such an elusive quality? What can we do today so that peace truly begins with us? What can we do today so that we fulfill John 14:12?

What can we do today that will make a difference.

It only takes one voice to change the world.


1 comment:

  1. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14:12

    Carl, you asked "What can we do today that will make a difference.?"

    We can be grateful for all the gifts we are given by God to lead peaceful lives. To engineer a lasting peace everyone must really want peace and stick with it. It would mean loving everyone and creating the conditions for peace which is building up the positive in others, not tearing down others. We can listen to others. We can turn the other cheek when we are hurt. As we want to be forgiven, we should be forgiving. We let pride get in the way. We get vengeful instead of doing the Father's will which is to forgive.

    We can ask in Jesus' name. If we don't ask, we don't receive. We can ask to be forgiven and to be able to forgive. We can ask for more faith to believe in Him. We can ask for more courage to walk with Him. We can become more dependent on Jesus than in the world for answers and needs that will bring peace. We can reserve time just for Him in the silence of His words in the Gospels. We can converse with Him.

    There is a parable that might answer the WHY IT IS SO HARD FOR US TO CREATE PEACE in today's Gospel Reading, Matthew 21:28-32.

    Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: "What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' He said in reply, "I will not," but afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, 'Yes, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?" They answered, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him."

    Instead of working in the vineyard, people are working for themselves and their own narrow interests in the world, for power and glory to themselves. All power and glory belongs to God. He has the power to move mountains. It is His strength and security that we must rely on. Some might have said yes, but they are not doing God's will. They are doing their own will.

    When I was growing up we used to hear 'We can go to the moon, but we can't end hunger, strife, poverty or wars.' I think it is because we haven't really tried hard enough to end these consequences of evil. We can come up with billions for war and bail out Wall Street, but can't find the money to remedy the real ills that cause wars and greed.

    If people really wanted peace there would be peace. They say yes, 'Peace', like in the parable they answer yes, but fail and do not do what they say they were going to. That sort of faith is in shallow ground and when the sun comes up that seed is scorched and withered.