Our Separated Humanity

I found today extremely sad.  Yes, to the point of tears sad.  When I turned on the news this morning and heard of the shooting in Las Vegas and then saw some of the footage, I simply found myself in tears.  I was in disbelief, as if something like this just shouldn’t be happening.  And yet it was.  Again.  Not that I was the least bit surprised because I wasn’t.  Violence is the way of life here in Baltimore and other metropolitan areas but also around the globe, but for whatever reason it just struck me today, as if caught off guard.

I happened to catch a former FBI agent speaking on the broadcast, long before much was known about the shooter, other than the fact that he was a male, age 64.  My immediate thought was questioning how someone could reach that age and still harboring so much that he’s willing to take the lives of so many people so callously.  But the expert when on to speak about where he shot them from, the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, and the significance of the place of power, atop the people, paradoxically, though, magnifying the powerlessness.  I hadn’t thought of that as he tries to get into the mind of this guy.  More than 1200 feet separated himself from the crowd below, amplifying the casualty as bullets reigned down.

More times I can count I have written on this blog about the God problem we have, and I do still believe that to be true.  We find ourselves clinging to so many false gods that have taken the place of God, of mystery, that we find ourselves wandering aimlessly in a darkened world and country.  It’s all true if we could be aware enough in our lives to begin to see that we too are a part of the problem, not just the other that we have demonized.  Thinking about this guy, though, I began to think, as much as we have a God problem, possibly even more striking is the human problem that exists in this land.

There he was, some 32 floors off the ground and entirely separated from humanity below.  Unable to see the trauma being inflicted.  Unable to see the tears nor hear the screams that we’ve had to listen to repetitively through the media.  Now, granted, these are all signs of someone who was experiencing severe psychological problems in his life, seeming to be entirely separated from humanity.  However, the slow process of attaching ourselves to our gods has a similar impact on our own lives.

Think about it.  The more the demand for certainty in our lives and the attachment to the illusion of “being right”, the less capable we have become of empathizing and sympathizing with our fellow brothers and sisters and a whole lot less space for God.  It becomes entirely about having the winning argument, as I’m sure we will witness one again when it comes to the use of guns in our society, and less about the impact so much of what we are doing has upon humanity.  The problem is that we cling so tightly to our certainty that our own eyes become clouded from seeing the tears and pain of the other nor hearing the scream and cry for help as pain reigns down and is reigned down by my own inability to love and to walk this journey with the other.

I can never fully put myself in the place of another human being.  Their story is their story just as mine is mine.  I have suffered greatly in my own life, gradually learning to release the hold of certainty in my own life and through process, trust in faith, in the unseen, in the unknown, making space not only for God but for the other and their story and to hold it as treasure.  We have put ourselves in so many losing situations.  We cling to our symbols, to our institutions, our belongings, our own lives, as if that’s all that matters.  As if that’s all that matters and we can’t care about anything else.  We have a human problem and a God problem who ever so mightily is trying to break through our own lives and to free us from ourselves.  Ourselves.  We cling so tightly and before you know it, we too find ourselves separated from humanity, the humanity of the other and our own, unable to stand with, kneel beside, listen with love, see with care, all because of this distance we have put between ourselves, creating a tension, that, although painful, hopefully leads one day to a new day, a new beginning, a re-creation of our humanity.

It’s a sad day.  It’s been sad days, weeks, months, years, of being torn apart by so much that just doesn’t matter and yet we cling.  We cling to our ideology.  We cling to our certainty.  We cling to a flag.  We cling to a nation that was.  We cling to our guns.  We cling to our rights.  We cling.  It’s what we humans often do best, cling.  Somehow thinking we can’t live without any of it.  Somehow thinking that it’s eternal and never-changing.  We cling to our false gods that over time divide, leaving a gaping hole of pain in the soul of me, you, and a nation, that can only be filled with a God who’s love surpasses all and fulfills all, a God so often unseen and yet so present, gently opening our eyes and hearts to the other and their story.  A story you don’t know.  A story we mustn’t judge.  A story that is unfolding.  A story we must learn to care about in order to understand and in order to close the gap of our own humanity.  It’s the story of the Christ. 

It’s was an extremely sad day but a day in which we are once again invited to enter into the mystery of our own lives, feel the pain of the other, and together we learn to find true freedom from what binds and hurts our hearts and souls as a nation because in the end the story is the same.  It’s a sad day when we can no longer weep for all humanity who suffers because of our inability to put ourselves in their place beyond our symbols and institutions.  The more I am freed of my own gods of judgment, condemnation, and fear, I find myself trusting in all I can trust in, a God who doesn’t reign bullets nor insults down upon humanity but rather love, understanding, and forgiveness. 

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Penetrating Silence

I Kings 3: 5, 7-12; Matt 13: 44-52

The first reading, from First Kings is one that I’m quite familiar.  It’s the reading we use each year at the celebration marking the end of the Pinkard Scholars at the seminary.  There’s a lot to like about it.  Solomon finds himself, like many others in Scripture, in a position he’s not sure he’s capable of fulfilling, despite the call from God.  He’s also free to ask for anything to help him become the leader that he’s being called to at this point.  It’s almost like asking for a wish, and yet, despite all of it, Solomon asks not for what he wants but what he feels he needs in that moment in this momentous call from God.  Solomon asks for an understanding heart.

It appears that even God is taken back by the request, assuming he’d ask for a long life, riches, the life of his enemies.  Anything; and yet, he asks for a heart that understands.  Even in the request, this prayer of Solomon, shows the depth of his wisdom and understanding, a deep penetrating silence, that is already there and somehow, in the midst of the unknown, God is going to take it and use him as an instrument of that wisdom and understanding.

It’s a great reading to reflect upon in our own lives as to what the treasure, the pearl of great price, in which we’d ask of God at this moment.  Not this is not to say that our prayers are futile in some ways, but in my experience, we tend to tell God what we want, as if somehow God is the dispensary of wishes.  We know exactly the way things are supposed to be or should be and we want it that way and so that’s what we ask.  However, that’s not a treasure, nor a pearl of great price, nor the wisdom that Solomon exemplifies.  Rather, it’s so often the God we think we want rather than the God that is trying to reveal in the penetrating silence of our hearts, a deeper mystery, to be able to let go and surrender to the mystery and allow the prayer to fall within.

If there is one thing I have learned up in the mountains of Acadia this week it’s just how much noise we have in our lives.  First, with the noise that I create for myself in the busyness of life but also all the noise that surrounds us and in so many ways violates that deep penetrating silence of our hearts, to the point that we no longer know what it is that we need when God asks and gradually get swallowed up in life, unable to breathe, unable to fall into the mystery in which God is inviting each of us.

More often than not, in my experience, people have no idea what they’d really ask God for.  Sure, there are the standard prayers of praying for everyone else, for the world, and so on, but to understand and touch the deepest desire of our own heart is a whole other story.  One, we often feel unworthy to even say it or even because we already know deep down that if I do ask as Solomon does, it may just happen and something more may be demanded of me, just as it was for him.  So I hold back that desire out of fear, unworthiness, as even he thinks because of his age, and I choose to live with a constant restlessness until I can finally rest in that deep penetrating silence in my heart as Solomon does, realizing that the prayer has already begun to bear fruit in the simple act of naming the desire from deep in my heart.

Solomon is one of the key wisdom figures in Scripture and has much to teach us in our own prayer and in the barrage of noise in our own lives that often prevents us, knowingly or unknowingly, from moving to that place of deep penetrating silence in our own hearts that knows our truest desire, maybe an understanding heart as it was for Solomon.  His invitation and mirror to all of us is, that despite our own fear, our anxiety, our own feeling of unworthiness, can we step away from the noise of our lives long enough to move to that deeper place, that ocean of silence that often reveals what we truly desire and know that we have nothing to fear all at the same time.  In the end, did the disciples really understand what Jesus was trying to convey.  Probably not, but somehow it at least spoke to them on that deeper level, stirring something within them and preparing them for that descent in their own lives, in the face of the cross, to that deep, penetrating silence revealing their deepest desires and the heart open to understanding the mystery of God.

 

 

 

The Capacity for God

I must admit, when I agreed to participate in priestly renewal at Notre Dame this summer, I really had no idea what I was signing up for at that time.  I knew it had a name, the Bishop D’Arcy Program in Priestly Renewal, part of the McGrath Institute for Church Life.  I knew it was free.  I knew it was at Notre Dame, a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  Of course, I also knew it was about priestly renewal.  Even that, though, I probably have my own idea and judgment about what exactly that means and how it can be defined by each of us, based on our own needs and desires.

Shortly after beginning his pontificate, Pope Francis often used the image of the Church as field hospital.  We all know that when it comes to hospitals, there is some knowledge or acceptance on our part that we may be sick, whether something minor or even terminal.  When it comes to Church life and the understanding of the image of field hospital, the second half of the equation is not always known and we often live in denial of the illness or for that matter, blame others for it.  Sometimes when you’re so close to the sickness you become immune or even numb to it, ultimately making you a part of the problem rather than an agent of healing and conversion.  We become blind to the deeper issues that we need to face while trying to band-aid when often surgery is the necessary route, or at least some restful care to regain the capacity to once again thrive.

I know this is all a rather long introduction to my point, but a point that is necessary in understanding what this week at Notre Dame has been for me.  Here’s the thing, those closest to me knew that I was burned out by the end of June, feeling fatigued and simply exhausted.  It was a transition year for me in moving from being pastor of one parish and taking on a second.  Despite the fact that they are a mere mile apart, it, over time, began to take a toll on me, especially interiorly.  My point is, I was in need of that field hospital myself without even knowing it at the time, while being immersed in the day to day routine.  That should have been a sign that a check-up was needed; everything was becoming routine.  I was becoming numb to it all, gradually forgetting why I was a priest in the first place, allowing myself to be pushed to the triage unit, which I was unfamiliar and new to trying to navigate, when, at times, I was the one in need.

Now don’t get me wrong, I never stopped doing what I needed to do, such as celebrating Mass and even having the time for personal prayer, but over the course of time, and after having the time to step away this week, to reflect, to listen, to allowing myself to be ministered to, I began to realize that the clock seemed to be managing me much more than the other way around.  Over time, it was easier to just escape for awhile, knowing that I had reached the bottom within myself, often without the capacity to give or receive, and try to gain enough muster to get through another day and another week, at least until the field hospital opened its doors to me and am once again breathing without a ventilator and no longer feeling like I’m on the brink of death.

One of the dangers of Church life and ministry is to become consumed by the weeds, which Jesus himself uses as metaphor.  Dealing with problems, fires, people, and the multitude of personalities and agendas , and now times two, began to consume me and I didn’t realize how ill I was becoming and in need of that field hospital, to mend wounds, deal with resentment, theologically contextualize the reality, and to reconnect with the larger priesthood that I am a part of and was ordained to for now thirteen years.  The crying child within, overwhelmed by the noise, needed to be cared for and loved.

For the past ten years, I have taught high school juniors not only the need for conversion but also have led them through that process.  Any of us knows that, just because we can lead others doesn’t mean we can always lead ourselves there.  The best leaders are often those that know how to follow.  It requires the help of the field hospital, a team, to lead you back to health and to a deeper understanding of the mystery of the life in which I have felt called and the capacity to fall into that mystery without the feeling of drowning, it’s arch-nemesis which likes to disguise.  There’s no book and no six steps that can bring about the perfect priest or parish, for that matter, (whatever that means anyway), all we can do is continuously allow ourselves to surrender to the mystery of God’s grace and mercy in our lives and through it we are changed, our environments are changed, the lens in which we view life is changed, broadened, and deepened, and ultimately the world begins to change.  The first step, though, is to acknowledge there’s a problem, even when we don’t know what it is and allow ourselves to be checked into the field hospital for care.  It may only require some medicine to sooth the soul, but it at least prevents something more terminal.

Each night I’d end my day down at the Grotto here on campus, often being bit alive by mosquitos, but there nonetheless.  Each night I’d watch people come and go, renewing a sense of wonder in myself as to what brings them there, seeking prayer and understanding, lighting candles for someone or something.  I sat, I listened, even to a young man in tears next to me one evening, knowing that this spot was a field hospital for him, in need of some kind of healing in his life and quite possibly in the life of someone he loved. Each night he’d return and pray, light more candles, making his offering to the Divine Physician. No words were necessary.  Simply a light, some tears, and an openness to the grace at hand.  I suppose the one good thing about field hospitals is that they are 24-7.  At least for the past week, whether at the Grotto, hearing confession with young people, in sessions with other priests, laughter, connecting with some of the people I encountered on campus, or simply walking through this campus, this became the necessary field hospital in my life, first to acknowledge that I had become ill and then to accept the doctors and the Doctor and the care they provided to bring about healing, the capacity to give and receive this mystery, and of course, renewal.

Pay Attention

Romans 8: 9, 11-13; Matthew 11: 25-30

From the time we are kids, we are taught to “pay attention” to certain things.  Of course, as kids it’s necessary because it often keeps us safe and secure even from perceived dangers.  However, as we age, it often grows into judgment, stereotype, even guilt and shame, that seems to dominate our lives where we begin to think what we have paid attention to is truth.  But over that time, despite some of its necessity early on, it begins to overshadow who we really are, hide our truest self from ourselves, often distorting our image of God, but also separating and dividing us not only from others but from ourselves as well.  It makes it nearly impossible to deal with problems because we try to fix what was caused by it in the first place.

It’s that place of hiddenness and what has been overshadowed where Jesus tries to lead the disciples in today’s gospel when he speaks of what has been hidden from the wise and learned but rather revealed to the little ones.  As is often the case, he’s speaking after an experience with the Pharisees where they once again found themselves in conflict with one another.  One way in which what we “pay attention” to rears its head is when things aren’t good enough or it’s never enough because the Pharisees continue to look through life through a rather narrow lens, which is what happens to all of us over time.  When it came to John the Baptist, they had problems.  When it comes to Jesus, it’s still not good enough for them.  More often than not they weren’t paying attention to the right things and got so caught up in the law that they become blinded.  It creates this tension and conflict and eventually to the violent act of the crucifixion.  He doesn’t necessarily react to their way but rather tries to expand the lens and understanding, which they often weren’t able to see but saw him as a threat to their way of life and thinking for that matter.

Whether you know it or not, it’s also what Paul speaks of in the second reading today to the Romans.  It’s probably one of the most misinterpreted passages in all his letters because we try to keep it only skin deep.  We probably have all heard it interpreted as “sins of the flesh”.  Like kids, that may work for a period in our lives, but that’s not the deeper meaning to what Paul is speaking of nor is it what he’s challenging them to pay attention to in their lives.  If we take out the word “flesh” from the passage and insert words like ego, what we pay attention to, or even that Pharisee within us, that’s more the point that Paul is trying to make.  Getting trapped in that place in our lives often leads to conflict and even hostility towards God and others.  It’s not a deeper life in the spirit as he speaks of, but one of conflict.  It ultimately is what Paul tries in his writings to lead people to learn to let go of; not their body, but their control tower, their ego, what they have been conditioned to pay attention to and yet now stands as an obstacle, which in other letters he also calls it.  This point where we don’t feel satisfied or things are never good enough, for Paul, is recognition that we aren’t living from the right place, from the divine, from the Christ within our very souls.  If we want to seek solutions to a world of problems, we must first be willing to make that journey ourselves and face our own violence and blindness.

It is the invitation that Jesus gives to the disciples and to us today as the gospel continues.  He says to come to him all who labor and are burdened.  Come to me all of you that are struggling in one way or another.  This invitation isn’t just about handing our problems over to God and somehow they disappear.  No, the invitation that Jesus gives is to move beyond the struggle, often defined by what we pay attention to, and move to the place of the Christ and learn to live from that place.  It is the place where the judgement and stereotype, division and separation, begins to disappear.  It is a journey inward and a journey downward, and quite frankly, a journey that takes great humility to finally begin to admit that maybe what I have paid attention to is not the fuller picture.  It’s learning to live our lives inward out rather than the outward appearance of things defining us, who we are, and what we do.  It is a path that is quite difficult but the only path to a fuller life and where we finally become agents of change in the world.

All too often we try to deal with problems in this city, community, country, and world, by doing the same thing.  It leads to people butting heads and as we have seen in this city, a great deal of violence.  We are trying to solve problems with what separates and divides rather than moving to this deeper place within ourselves that unites us with God, others, and even ourselves.  This city and our lives do not need more separation and division and certainly do not need more violence.  But it will continue if we try to fix things by an old mindset.  The healing begins with me and you.  The healing begins when I can finally begin to ask myself, “What am I paying attention to?” and is it leading to healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, and a more loving posture towards God and people or does it simply dig in my heels and lead to further violence.  If our faith and our religion are going to have any impact on our lives, it’s going to require change on our part, change in what we pay attention to, and be led to the deeper places of our lives, people of spirit and soul.  That is how we begin to make a difference here and everywhere, including our own families, in becoming the agents of change, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, while learning to let go of what only continues to separate and divide.  There’s no more time for any of that.  It’s time for a new way, a deeper way of living where we bridge differences and live lives filled with love, healing, and forgiveness.  First and foremost, what is it you find yourself paying attention to in life?

[Not] Black Like Me

It was 1990 and I was heading off to Bloomsburg University, not really knowing what I would experience or the people who would somehow touch my life in many different facets. As I was graduating from high school and preparing for college that summer, one expectation that the university had of new students was to do summer reading, a foreign concept to me at the time. One of the books on the list of readings, which obviously had some kind of impact on me since I can still recall it these years later, was Black Like Me by journalist, John Howard Griffin. As a young man who grew up in a town in Pennsylvania that was nothing less than white, the whole idea was hard to grasp. I couldn’t imagine why I would need to read such a book, and yet, of the books I had to read, it was the only one I had read in its entirety. Somehow, of which I wouldn’t begin to grasp until years later, touched me on a very deep and profound level.

And so there I was, baby steps outside of my hometown, a mere forty-five minutes West on Interstate 80, embarking on an environment that I knew nothing about. If you didn’t look like me or someone like me, you were often only known by something that I would now call derogatory. I was having a difficult time trying to reconcile what it was that I had experienced in the years leading up to college and the reality of the people I would eat with, drink and party with, take classes with, socialize with, and so on. I can look back now and only begin to imagine the confusion of people different than myself. Yet, the words of Griffin’s book continued to stick with me and wrestle within me, but only led to greater division within myself. It was as if I were living in two different worlds, trying to literally, talk out of both sides of my mouth, only leading to a deeper loneliness because I knew deep down that what I had learned really wasn’t the reality, but rather what I was experiencing in relationship began to change who I was and am today.

As years went by and I began to travel on mission trips to places like Haiti and several Latin American countries, I always returned to what I had read in that book. The experiences I had, flipped the table on me, not just through the relationships, but the lived experience of being the minority in countries where “gringo’s” were outnumbered by natives, and somehow that made sense and I could begin to feel my insides shaking, trembling, needing to break free, that somehow God was providing an opportunity to know what it’s like on the other side and how I would want to be treated. I remember living with some fear and anxiety as I walked through the streets and alleys of Haiti, a feeling that I have experienced just in my time living in the city of Baltimore. How does a guy who’s skin color is white live in a world and neighborhood where that’s not the majority? I didn’t know an answer, but if I were to live here, and I do, then I’d have to allow myself to live with that struggle as I have in the past and in these many different situations; somehow God is once again leading to greater depths, deeper conversion, and an expansion of the soul. The difference, in the past, the experiences ended in just a week or two, but this is now a way of life.

As I have watched events unfold in Ferguson these past few months, and simply sit with them in prayer, I often can’t help but to reflect on some of my own struggles that I have had to face within myself. It saddens me and has brought me to tears at times watching it all unfold. Violence is never an answer, and I do believe that with my whole heart. Yet, I understand it. I understand it because I’ve had that within myself, and all too often, have taken it out on myself, rather than direct it outward as some choose to do. All too often it is an outward sign of what is experienced on the inside of one’s heart and soul. I also understand, though, that we live in a time in this country when tension is already high as we are so often pulled into the extremes of politics, power, and money. We live with a constant mistrust of many systems that no longer function in a healthy manner, from politics, the justice system, and unfortunately, religious institutions. It’s nothing against any one individual. People like Michael Brown and Darren Wilson so often become the scapegoats to the dysfunction, distracting us from the real issues on inequality, human rights, and most especially, from the very foundation of our biblical roots, the dignity of the human person being violated and the reality and fact that we are all brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of a God of love and mercy.

I’m still of the mindset, and I do hope I’m proven wrong at some point, that there is more to come. There will be more violence that people will choose to act upon rather than sitting with their own discomfort and anger. There will be more protest, even if it is tamped down and squashed in order that we can go on with our lives and continue to live with the illusion as if nothing is wrong in our communities and most definitely, in our country. All of us can only, for a time, repress and suppress what it is that is wrong before it begins to rear its ugly head. Rather than seeing it as something to fear and continue to bury, maybe it’s simply an invitation for us to finally grow up and accept parts of ourselves that have put us on the defense in our lives or have made us feel less than, a minority in one way or another.

Black Like Me may end up being one of the most influential books I have read in my life and it came at a time when it challenged everything that I had led myself to believe about others and only to be proven wrong, over and over again. I will never forget the experiences I’ve had in life that have put, or better yet, where God had led, me into places within myself that turned me upside down. I do know, though, that the only way to peace and change is to turn the mirror on oneself and see myself from the Other’s view. It’s uncomfortable. It’s painful. It’s downright hard work and a difficult journey, but it’s the only way to be able to walk in the others shoes, be changed and transformed, and to come to a greater and deeper understanding of the plight of humanity and one that we all share in. Sure, we often continue to have our judgments of others, but we begin to reconcile that with who and whose we are, of a God who sees beyond it all and is ever so gently, and albeit it, painful at times, moving us towards understanding and not one or the other, but a new order and a new way of life free from what binds and separates. All these years later, maybe it’s time to pull out a copy of that book and allow it once again to speak to me and others of the challenges of being deemed different and rather than see it as an obstacle, reconcile with it and allow it to be the gift God created it to be, God created you and me to be.

Our Own Worst Enemy

Jeremiah 38: 4-6, 8-10; Luke 12: 49-53

Jeremiah, whom we hear from in today’s First Reading, in some ways can be likened to the Edward Snowden of his day.  They wanted him dead for treason; he was looked at as a traitor for carrying the burden of the truth.  Jeremiah does, though, face the consequences for his actions; he understands the weight of it all on him.  Throughout this book of the Bible he is often in anguish for where God has led him because it so often is where he would not go on his own and the burden of seeing the truth within himself and around him takes a toll on him.  It’s no wonder that we he confronts the leaders of Jerusalem that they’d rather him dead, perceiving him as a traitor for revealing the lie that they were living!

Jeremiah believed that they should surrender.  The city was already surrounded by this point by the Babylonians and he believed it was more important to save the lives than to continue this war.  He was right but they still won’t get it.  The city will later find itself under siege and falling again in the not so distant future.  They were invested in the war and thought it would bring about peace and yet only brought more bloodshed.  He tried to help them understand and see that the enemy was not only beyond the walls of Jerusalem and to be defeated, but was also within the walls.  Jerusalem was just as culpable and just as much the enemy to itself but they could not see it.  They did not want to hear the truth.  Sometimes it is just easier to continue to live a lie, especially when you are so invested in it as the King and military leaders were at that time.

So he finds himself at the bottom of a well with no food and drink; he probably had expected that knowing his luck in life.  He’s left there to die until the young, foreign court official comes and pleads his cause to King Zedekiah, who was by no means a strong leader and simply said yes to all of them.  He finally gives the court official, who too understands the truth that Jeremiah speaks, to pull him out of the well and the two will flee Jerusalem to Egypt in order to protect their own lives.

The gospel is also somewhat bizarre this weekend from Luke; it seems rather harsh what Jesus is saying about divisions within the family.  He knew they too were searching for peace but the mindset continued at that time, and often continues today, that the way to peace is through war, violence, and destroying the enemy.  However, in the process of destroying the enemy, we end up becoming it.  It is so often the story of the superheroes that we know.  Jesus will try to teach a new way to peace, one that leads us to confront the truth of who we are.  Yes we are children of God and born in God’s image and likeness, but we are also sinners and participate in sinful humanity.  Confronting that truth is often taking the humble steps in seeing that the enemy is not only out there to be defeated, but right within me; my own worst enemy is always with me.  Trying to destroy it isn’t the answer in our lives, but to learn from it and make peace with it through the way of Jesus…reconciliation, understanding, listening, and the peace will follow.

Today we pray that we may have the humility to recognize the truth within us and to acknowledge the lies we often try to live.  We are Jerusalem just as much as they were the Babylonians.  We pray that we may find other avenues to seek peace.  War and more violence only perpetuates more war and violence and will never bring about the peace Jesus desires for us.  It all too often appears that we prefer the divisions that he speaks of because we’d rather “keep the peace” which only avoids the truth rather than seeking inner peace.  To truly desire it we must confront the truth of ourselves and in return, the peace, through reconciliation and understanding, will follow.