Gift of the Holy Spirit:
Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called children of God.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace; according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.
“When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem” for the Jewish rite of circumcision and to present Him to His heavenly Father. The prophet Simeon, prompted by the Holy Spirit, recognizes Jesus as the promised Messiah.
After receiving and blessing them, Simeon, with the Spirit of Counsel burning in him, proclaims in prophecy: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign of contradiction so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” Turning to Mary, he adds: “And a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”
From the beginning, Jesus was destined to be a sign of contradiction. He is born a Savior, yet so many innocents had to die from the sword of Herod in his stead. His person, his preaching and healing ministry, his whole self exudes peace. “Peace be with you” is his usual greeting. Yet He says: “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” He pursues peace with spiritual warfare which will eventually cost Him His life.
Jesus preaches a gospel of love, righteousness, and forgiveness so radical that it causes a sword of unpeace to pierce many consciences – revealing the thoughts of many hearts – and exposing them to the light of truth and justice. “He comes to His own and His own knows Him not.” Rejecting Him as a false prophet, they accuse Him of blasphemy, scourge Him, crown Him with thorns and crucify Him. They thrust a spear into His Sacred Body piercing the Sorrowful Heart of His Mother, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Simeon.
The sword that Jesus brings is His living word given through the Spirit of Counsel, a sword that separates the sheep from the goats. Wise men and women would imitate Mary and Joseph by using this sword to pierce their own hearts, to die to themselves and become men and women for others.
These men and women who use the living word of Jesus as Counsel and wield this sword in spiritual warfare are true peacemakers in the image of the Lord. They are of one heart with His Sacred Heart and they shall be known as children of God. They are the true brothers and sisters of Jesus who is the peacemaker par excellence, the firstborn among God’s children.
Peacemaking is not about making peace between warring parties. It is listening to the Word of God and living it, bringing spiritual Counsel to those living in the dark and in need of God’s mercy. It is waging peace with the sword of the Spirit in the face of evil and injustice.
Jesus was crucified not because He was preaching peace but because He was performing deeds of merciful justice in the name of God: helping the blind and the destitute, forgiving the adulterous woman, associating with sinners and prostitutes, healing on the Sabbath, driving out the thieves from the Temple, expelling demons, exposing the hypocrisy of the rabbi, even as he gives spiritual Counsel to all who come to Him. He wages peace with spiritual warfare.
True peace is the fruit of justice and mercy, hallmarks of the new Kingdom. Peacemaking is about rendering justice, righting wrongs and giving mercy, justice to the poor and persecuted, mercy to the repentant sinner, forgiveness to the prodigal son and daughter.
Jesus says: “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! … Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” In our unjust world, whoever preaches the truth will bring about division and, like the Lord, be a sign of contradiction that will be spoken against. This is the true essence of peacemaking, to bring about God’s reign of mercy and justice as opposed to the spirit of vengeance and injustice.
Indeed, as Simeon had prophesied, Jesus was, and still is, a sign of contradiction. There was no trace of any fault in Him, yet He died the death reserved for the most dastard criminal. Even His cross is a sign of contradiction. Crucifixion on the cross, more than the guillotine or the electric chair, is the most horrible form of execution ever devised by man. But by His crucifixion and dying on the cross, the Savior transforms this cruel death symbol to be the victorious sign of our redemption and promise of eternal life. The way of the cross is no longer the way of the criminal to his execution but the way of sinners to their redemption.
Drawing power from this glorious Cross, martyrs through the centuries endure suffering to embrace their own crosses, giving hope of salvation to many, while demons at its sight flee in fright.
This is true peacemaking, by waging peace with spiritual warfare, each one with our own cross, absorbing the evil and hatred of an unaccepting world so that, through our own sacrifice, in union with Jesus, the world might be reborn in God’s mercy and find peace.
The day that our Faith no longer divides people, pierces consciences, meets opposition and causes unpeace in the hearts of many, such a feeble faith without the sword of spiritual warfare wielded with the Spirit of Counsel, our Christian witnessing will be lifeless and our peacemaking will be futile and fruitless.
Blessed therefore are the true peacemakers, those who “put on the helmet of salvation, justice as their breastplate, the spirit as their sword. They stand fast, truth as their belt, faith as their shield and their zeal for peace as their footgear.” They, these peace warriors, with the Spirit of the Living Word as their Counsel, are true peacemakers and shall be called children of God.
St. Joseph is proclaimed to be Protector of the Universal Church, a title worthy of this great silent warrior of peace. He is also the Great Counselor of families and parents, fathers especially, who have sought counsel from him and have not been denied consolation.
“Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help and sought your intercession was left unaided.” St. Joseph never denies anyone who seeks Counsel from this great Patriarch, Father of Divine Mercy, Protector and Patron Saint of Families.
St. Joseph, silent warrior of peace, protector of our Faith, Counselor of the Lord, teach me the ways of peace that my faith will be fruitful with just deeds, the mark of a true peacemaker.
Instruct me with the Spirit of Counsel that like your Son, I may wage peace with spiritual warfare in the name of truth and justice.
Present me to the Lord of Peace as your foster child so that I too can be called a child of God. Amen.
Our Father. Ten Hail Marys. Glory Be.