Shalom and Salaam

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matt. 5:9)

Every year on the feast of All Saints, we hear this gospel proclamation from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. Father John Dear describes the beatitudes as “the job description of every Christian.”

2000 years ago, Jesus spoke to the crowds – addressing people who knew pain and suffering, poverty and occupation. He promised to those who worked for peace and justice that his Father would call them his children. In these same lands, the past three weeks, 10,000+ have died in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza – Israelis and Palestinians, men, women, and children.

Three weeks ago, we offered a reflection on the words shalom and salaam. Two words from two different cultures and religious traditions, each pointing to the same thing – peace be with you.

As we continue to witness the tragedy and violence between Israel and Hamas, let this be our ongoing work and prayer for the people residing in both countries. Salaam and Shalom.

Perhaps we start simply by praying for those who have died and all who mourn the loss of their loved ones, especially parents of children on this feast day of All Souls. Perhaps we reach out to our political representatives to advocate and support efforts of the end of the war in the Holy Land.

The beatitudes are still relevant today, especially for those who believe in, love, and follow Jesus. We are called to cooperate with a coming reign of God, a way of living together in the peace of God as one human family. Each of us has a choice – peace over violence, love over apathy.

Whatever action of peacemaking we prayerfully discern, may the Prince of Peace bless our efforts that it may bear abundant fruit and brought to fulfillment in him, for “he is our peace.” (Eph. 2:14)

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