Today is World Peace Day. It’s a breather after an intense couple of weeks. We marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11, which for me meant revisiting the darkness of that day and explaining our presence and departure from Afghanistan to our kids. These are dark times for Haitians and other refugees at the southern border. Personal, intimate violence is on the news, and today we pray for peace.
I ran into this quote on Facebook today: “There is no way to peace, peace is the way” (A.J. Muste, via Kissing Fish Book). It reminded me so much of Father Clay and the idea that heaven (and peace!) isn’t a destination – it’s a way of life. I love this passage below as he discusses entering the reign of God, living the reign of God, here on earth.
Peace be with you –
Jesus’ Inclusiveness and the Reign of God
What we want is for the mystery to transform us. Love and Goodness come into humanity in a deeper way than we can imagine. Can we start to see the mysterious value of ourselves and other humans? The spiritual journey is the growth of the whole human, a being that is body and soul united as one.
Believing, seeing and living out this mystery of the divine within us is, to my way of thinking, entering the reign of God. Jesus in his humanity was living the reign of God and showed us the path. His humanity tells me that he grew deeper into that reign as he lived. The three temptations at the beginning of his public life tell us this, also his cry to his father in the garden. It seems to me that Jesus, in his humanity, fully entered the reign of God when he was raised from the dead. Resurrection did something.
Jesus’ living out this reign of God was, in my opinion, the center and the driving force of his life. This I believe is what he meant by telling us to repent and believe in the good news. It’s what he meant when he told his disciples to make disciples of all nations.
I think that Jesus could see the divine presence in everyone, including those who were excluded in his society and religion. Here is an example of Jesus’ inclusiveness, his desire to invite everyone into the reign of God:
- Jesus told the chief priests and elders that the tax collectors and prostitutes’ were entering the reign of God ahead of them.
- When he was challenged by the scribes and Pharisees who were on the way to stone to death the woman caught in the act of adultery, he loved the scribes and Pharisees by looking at them and inviting them to look inside themselves and see their own sins. He said, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” He was inviting them to enter the reign of God.
- The woman caught in the act of adultery was a sinner and an outcast as defined in Jesus’ religious society. She was a throwaway. Jesus saw in her the same presence of God that he saw in the scribes and Pharisees. His love for her was the same as it was for her accusers. But his love took a different approach. She was a frightened and shamed woman. She didn’t have the righteous hard shell of her accusers. She didn’t have that shell that needed to be cracked open. So when she and Jesus were left alone, Jesus asked, “Is there no one left to condemn you?” She said, “No one.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you, but from now on avoid this sin.” Jesus gave her understanding and compassion. He helped her see the goodness and worth inside of her. this would give her the ability to change her life. He was inviting her into the reign of God.
Whenever we are not loving our sister or brother, something is wrong. We are not loving God.
I don’t handle this all very well. I think that I have lots of company. We need to pray for the grace to let the Holy Spirit transform us.
Smile, God Loves You.
From the letter “Love Must Be Primary” in Mysterious Love. By Father John Clay (c) 2015