Continuing with the theme of peace, the preacher of the pontifical household gave his second Advent homily today on “peace as a duty.”
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa reflected on our calling to become “channels through which the peace of God can reach our brothers.”
He spoke of the distinction between the peace of Jesus and that of Caesar Augustus.
“Jesus not only exhorted us to be peacemakers, but he also taught us, by word and example, how to become peacemakers,” he said.
Like Augustus’, Jesus’ peace “is also a ‘peace fruit of victories,’ but victories over oneself, not over others; spiritual, not military, victories.”
“On the cross, writes Saint Paul, Jesus ‘destroyed enmity in himself’ (Ephesians 2:16); he destroyed enmity, not the enemy, he destroyed it in himself, not in others.”
Father Cantalamessa said this path to peace makes sense in politics, not only in faith.
“Today we see clearly that the only way to peace is to destroy enmity, not the enemy. Enemies are destroyed with arms, enmity with dialogue. I read that someone once reproved Abraham Lincoln for being too courteous with his political adversaries, and reminded him that, as President, his duty was, rather, to destroy them. He answered: ‘Do I not, perhaps, destroy my enemies when I make them friends?'”
Jesus at the center
The preacher went on to speak of the need for peace among religions and peace within the Catholic Church. He spoke specifically of the path to peace between Christians and Jews, as well as directly addressing his audience and mentioning the need for peacemakers even in the Curia.
“What a gift it would be for the Church if [the Curia] were an example of fraternity! It is already, at least much more than the world and its media would have us believe, but it can always be more so,” he said.
He called the faithful to avail of the help of the Holy Spirit and “put back every day at the center of one’s intentions Jesus and the good of the Church, and not the triumph of one’s personal opinion.”
Quoting St. Paul’s exhortation to the faithful of Philippi, to be of the same mind, have the same love, be in full accord, he said: “They are words that Saint Paul addressed to his dear faithful of Philippi, but I am sure that they also express the desire of the Holy Father towards his collaborators and of us all. ‘Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.'”
On ZENIT’s Web page: