“Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down.” “Let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.”

Dove of peace

During these 4 weeks of Advent, we prepare to celebrate God’s response to that plea when God opened the heavens and came down among us in human form in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He came as “Prince of Peace” challenging unjust systems that oppressed the poorest and weakest resulting in conflict and wars.

Our world today is crying out for justice and peace. Our news is dominated by wars. We look on, feeling helpless, wondering what we can do to help bring peace to our troubled world.

Today’s readings tell us that we, clay in the hands of God the potter, are made in God’s image and likeness and filled with the spirit and gifts of Jesus. We are the face of God in our world. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that we have been left in charge, each with our own task. Surely one of those tasks is to shine on the world and bring about peace. To do this Jesus tells us: “Stay awake!” “Be on your guard!”

Is he telling us to watch for opportunities to fulfil that task? Pope Francis prays: “Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds…” Thich Nhat Hanh says: “Peace in ourselves, peace in the world.”

The Dalai Lama elaborates: “Only through compassion and inner peace, can one spread peace in the world. Inner peace leads to a peaceful individual and then this peaceful individual can build a peaceful family, then a peaceful community, then a peaceful world.”

Maybe our call this Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, is to be the peace that we long and pray for.

Marie Redmond O.P.