by Kathy Schmitt
Joel 2:12-18 | 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2 | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
As we embark on the journey of Lent, we hear Paul’s stirring declaration: we are ambassadors for Christ, and our mission is to reconcile the world to God. We have a lot of work to do, for the world is full of sin, evil, and injustice. Providentially, it is also full of grace. But before we speak to others about these things, perhaps we should examine our own hearts for signs of sin, evil, and injustice, as well as for evidence of God’s healing grace. Do our own lives conform to the high standards of the gospel? Have we become complacent regarding any habits, situations, or relationships that we know are not good for us, others, or the planet? Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving: these are the methods we are to use in our mission of reconciling the world to Christ. Are you ready to begin?
- On a scale of 1-10, how ready are you to take up the mission of reconciliation as an ambassador of God’s peace, justice, and mercy?
- Can you readily “give an account of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15) by naming the countless acts of divine mercy you have experienced?
This reflection was written by Kathy Schmitt. It is included in this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, Embracing Possibilities: Reflections for Lent 2014, and available as a download for purchase from the Pax Christi USA website.
Posted in Bread for the Journey, Lent 2014, Peacemakers, Reflection, Schmitt, Scripture
Tagged 2 Corinthians, almsgiving, ambassadors for Christ, Ash Wednesday, ashes, fasting, Joel, Kathy Schmitt, Lent, Matthew, prayer, reflection for Ash Wednesday
from L’Osservatore Romano
In his homily at Holy Mass on Tuesday morning, 25 February, Pope Francis commented on the day’s readings from the Letter of James (4:1-10) and the Gospel of Mark (9:30-37). The Gospel is especially sobering, the Pope said. There we are told that the disciples “were discussing” and even “arguing on the way.
And they did so in order to clarify who was the greatest among them: ambition”. They carried on this discussion because “one or two of them wanted to be the greatest: fighting”. Thus, the Pope said, “they withdrew their hearts”. The disciples had “distant hearts” and “when hearts become distant war is caused”. This is the essence of “the teaching the Apostle James offers us today,” he said, as he poses a very direct question: “My brothers, what causes wars, and what causes fightings among you?”
These words “are sobering”, the Pope said. For “every day we find reports of war in the newspapers”. We read that “in this place people are divided” and there are “five dead”. Elsewhere there are other victims and so it goes. So much so, he added, that “the dead seem to be part of the daily toll”. And we “have become accustomed to reading these things”. In fact, “had we the patience to list all of the wars that exist in the world right now, surely we would fill many pages”.
“It seems as though the spirit of war has taken hold of us”. Thus, “we makes acts to commemorate the centenary of the great war” that left “many millions dead”, and everyone is outraged”; and yet even today “the same things occurs: instead of a great war” there are “little wars everywhere”. There are “peoples divided” who “kill and murder one another to protect their own interests”…
Read this entire article by clicking here.
by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
To begin our reflection today, it’s important once more to go back to the beginning of this series of teachings that Jesus is giving us that make up the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had told his disciples, “The reign of God is at hand; change your lives.” “The reign of God is at hand; change your lives,” so that you may live in that reign of God where God’s love permeates everything.
All of creation is living according to the law of God’s love, and all of the people that God has created — all men and women, everyone — is under that reign of God’s love so that we live in a way that every person has a fullness of life. We find peace and joy. All the good things that God has given for all are shared by all.
This is the reign of God, but it’s at hand. We only enter into it when we change our lives according to the way of Jesus. That is what he’s been teaching us in the Sermon on the Mount, starting with that value system we call the beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor; blessed are the humble; blessed are those who are gentle; bless those who seek justice; blessed are those who are peacemakers; blessed are those who are sincere of heart.” These are the values that Jesus makes his own and that he lives and proclaims to us as the way we must live in the reign of God.
And then last week Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes, who were concerned about how he was maybe destroying all that God had promised to the people of old, he said, “No, I have come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it — to transform it, to make the law now a law fitting for the reign of God,” and Jesus really does show us how he goes beyond what is contained in the law.…
To read this entire article, click here.
Posted in Ambassadors of Peace, Bread for the Journey, Gumbleton, Reflection, Scripture, Sharing Wisdom, Teach Peace, Teacher of Peace
Tagged Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, NCR, the peace pulpit, wisdom of God
(Photo from the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
Pax Christi USA has signed onto the following statement to secure humanitarian access to all civilians in Syria. It originated out of the UN Relief and Works Agency.
We call on the ten leaders of the G8 Countries to “demand that the parties on the ground facilitate immediate, secure, substantial and permanent humanitarian access to all civilians in Syria”. We request that the ten individuals listed below and the governments they lead make public statements endorsing this position which must be incorporated into the final communiqué of the G8 Summit in June.
Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande, Barak Obama, David Cameron, Shinzo Abe, Angela Merkel, Stephen Harper, Enrico Letta, Herman Van Rompuy, Manuel Boroso.
A campaign supporting the statement will occur in March, demanding a peaceful end to this devastating conflict and immediate, secure, substantial and permanent humanitarian access for all civilians in Syria. In the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, the parties have shown they can come together in ways that facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations. The campaign will urge the parties and the international community to act peacefully together now to halt the march of death, injuries, hunger and suffering in Syria.
This week, Pax Christi USA is moving to its new office in Washington, D.C. (Click here for more information on the move.) Staff member Sr. Maureen McLaughlin was kind enough to take some photos as they are packing up the old offices.
Look for more pictures later this week. March 1st is the official transfer date to the new office!
by Mark Engler and Paul Engler, Waging Nonviolence
Egyptian protesters shout slogans against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as they watch his speech at Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo on June 26, 2013. (Flickr/AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Three years ago this month, the 82-year-old president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, stepped down amid historic protests against his dictatorial rule. News of his resignation on Feb. 11, 2011 marked the climax of an uprising that was quickly recognized as one of the most sudden and significant upheavals of the 21st century. As the New York Timesreported, “The announcement, which comes after an 18-day revolt led by the young people of Egypt, shatters three decades of political stasis and overturns the established order of the Arab world.” Activists in Egypt, along with sympathizers throughout the world, rejoiced.
“We had tried before. But nothing was like this,” said Ahmed Salah, a veteran youth organizer who had worked for years to drum up resistance to the regime. For months, he had been promoting the audacious and improbable idea of a revolution without arms. “I had hopes, but I never really thought that I’d see it,” he explained. “Tahrir brought tears to my eyes.”
Today, the euphoria of those times is gone. The military, now under the command of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is back in charge, having ousted the elected, Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Mohamed Morsi last July. Prominent political scientist Amr Hamzawy describes his nation as “a country in fear” that is now experiencing a “fast recovery of authoritarianism.”…
Read more by clicking here.