Today’s passage is taken from the more familiar Palm Sunday narrative, in which Jesus approaches Jerusalem triumphantly, just days before his passion and death. Our vignette today is both somber and painful, offering us a startling reminder of how we can be blinded.
If only Jerusalem had recognized the things that make for peace. Jerusalem—the very name of the city evokes peace, "shalom"—yet instead of Jesus being recognized and celebrated as the Prince of Peace, he was tortured and killed. Ignorance and fear blinded the people.
If only we could take Jesus’ words to heart and recognize this day the things that make for peace! Yet turn on the news, read the paper, browse the Internet—how little we see of the things that make for peace. Rather, we are immersed in the fears and reality of our struggling world, and it can be too much. We might turn to superficial distractions to settle ourselves, or we might choose to tune out the wider world and focus on our immediate reality.
Yet Jesus is our peace, calling us to open our eyes to the struggles around us and to not turn away. We are invited to boldly see and name and work for peace. Peace can only begin in our own hearts, with the courage and the conviction to be witnesses of Jesus. With peace in our hearts, we can then begin the difficult but fulfilling work of bringing peace to our fragile world.
As Pope Francis recently prayed, “Grant us peace, teach us peace, guide our steps in the way of peace!”
Kathy (Motyka) Youzwak ’99, ’03M.Div.
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