Pursue peace with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14 (NRSV)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons and daughters of God.”

Matthew 5:9

“How can He say that?” Joanna whispered to Susanna. They had witnessed in astonishment Jesus’s many confrontations with members of the Sanhedrin. Wherever Jesus went there was a swirl of controversy. He had even said, “Do not suppose that I came to put peace into the land: I did not come to thrust peace but rather a sword.” (Matthew 10:22)

Later, they asked their rabbi about his teaching. “Peace is everything which makes for a person’s highest good, and the enjoyment of that good,” the Lord responded.

“But Lord,” Joanna asked, “What about the tables You overturned in the temple? What about the woes You delivered to the Pharisees? Everywhere we go it seems peace is disrupted.” She watched Messiah’s face as He gazed at her in return.

Then Jesus asked her “Do you love peace?” and Joanna nodded.

“Yet the blessing is not on those who love peace so much as it is for those who make peace,” Jesus explained. “Not being willing to talk about the hard things and saying to yourself, ‘Well it’s because I don’t like confrontation,’ or ignoring what’s wrong because you don’t want to rock the boat or refusing to take action in a situation because you don’t want people to not like you, is not being a peacemaker.” 

Jesus waited while His student thought about what He had said. “You might love peace, but what you’re really doing is pushing responsibility for peace onto someone else, so you don’t have to do the hard work of making peace yourself.”

That evening Joanna told these things to her husband Chuza, steward to the tetrarch. They dealt with political intrigue and emotional drama every day in Herod’s household. “But peace doesn’t come from evading issues,” she told him, “It comes from facing them and dealing with them. Making peace is active, having courage to get with those who are in the middle of the trouble, and bringing God’s truth out, being willing to take a few lumps as people deal with their anger and resistance, until the process has been completed.”

Chuza nodded, thoughtfully. “If our motives are pure, and our single passion is to see God at work, if we know the deep joy and freedom of having peace with God ourselves, then you and I will actively bring this same peace to other people.”

Oh Lord, grant us the serenity and joy that comes from bringing the reconciliation of the gospel to others, that we may produce right relationships with You and all Whom You love. We long to be recognized as Yours, to the praise of Your glorious grace, Amen.

Saint Joanna and the Head of Saint John the Baptist | By school of tsar’s izographs – [1], Public Domain

[A fable inspired by the Gospels]

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