…the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace…Rm 8:6
…..I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live .Deut 30:19
When life ticks healthily ,we automatically think of the the heart beat recording graph electrocardiogram , circumnavigating pumping oxygenated blood to the arteries and the veins returning the exhausted reddish liquid cycle . This is the kind of scientific picture we contemplate when we think of life in the natural world .
A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute. In the Old Testament , the symbol of blood is for life and the Levirate Laws demanded blood exchange for any Holy Alliance – Covenant transaction.
…and for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the LORD. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. ‘Lev 17 :11
In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ shed his blood for mankind launching our atonement once for all.
The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. Rm 6:10
Life is a precious gift from our Omnipotent Creator God . So from a bloodthirsty covenant mode of the Old Testament Biblical tradition Jesus Christ inaugurates the New Covenant with his own body and blood shed for the sins of the whole world . We are now in the win-win paradigm with the glorious resurrection event . Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac to please God and then providentially replaced at the last minute by a ram in Old Testament is the pre-figure of the Son of God unique atonement NT memorial action which is the weekly New Peaceful Covenant Eucharistic celebration event. The Eucharist is not an end in itself but refreshes , refines and catapults us to continue the compassionate works of Jesus Christ .
Henri Nouwen said : Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.
Just like the broken bread is shared , we are also broken in our selfishness , arrogance and pride as the Eucharist reminds us of our peaceful transformation to a more loving , generous and humble servant of God . H Nouwen words are the checklist of our state of dynamic growth or static bonzai showdown as we journey on this bumpy spiritual road of life .
Life is a precious peaceful gift which is to be unpacked with care . There are always new challenges awaiting us at every corner when we are faithfully serving God and not everyone reacts the same way . When we have peace and confidence , we launch out fearlessly and bravely and wisely to achieve our goals . We can even use the SWOT (( a study undertaken by an organization to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats.)) analysis and go forward . However the Bible shows Joshua and Caleb who were called to explore & conquer the Promise Land have a very different unorthodox analysis divine methodology .
After a 40-day exploration of Canaan, the explorers reported, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27–28). This report frightened the people (Numbers 13:31–33).
Caleb had a different attitude from the other spies. Verse 30 records, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” When the people complained that they could not go up to conquer the land, both Caleb and Joshua responded strongly: “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh . . . tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, ‘The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them’” (Numbers 14:6–9).
In today’s jargon , the adage ‘ when the going gets tough , the tough get going ‘ could have been pronounced by Joshua and Caleb as they upheld bravely the faithfulness of God providing protection leading to victory . Ten out of twelve spies voted against the Conquest …i.e. 92 % Against and 8 % For… the CONQUEST MOTION . The 92% felt they were like grasshoppers in front of ferocious wolves !!! This Theocratic non-democratic non-SWOT analysis by Joshua & Caleb ,saw the minority 8% leading the majority in that unorthodox , eccentric and unconventional victorious conquest of the Promised Land , after a 40 yrs wandering in the desert . Life is a permanent search and doing God’s will and if we want to please everybody in society and stay put , we will kick the Joshua and Caleb Spirit of God’s Protection and Conquest out of our lives . When our mind is governed by the Holy Spirit we have life and the peace of God the Father in all our tough critical decisions .
Life is a precious gift to be peacefully and generously shared with all of creation . Famous personalities say “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. . ” I believe that peace upkeep in this abundant life world can be compared wisely to the weekly Garbage Collector at home in the city . If the garbage collectors do not collect the garbage and it piles up and rots ..the mess and putrefying smells can cause epidemics and social revolts. Who cares ??? Some do !!! We hear of the new shameful wall building Mexican exclusion by USA D.Trump , when the Berlin wall was torn down 1989 , newly built dividing walls in Jerusalem / Palestine … and 8,800 km obsolete Great Wall of China .. exclusion , enmity and war walls !!! Jesus Christ broke down the wall of hostility !
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. Eph 2: 14
Dorothy Thompson states :Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.
Those who have desired peace and pursued it and obtained it are really the Children of God . Negotiating for peace is an extremely difficult exercise with all the family of the dead victims and no party wants to show signs of weakness . But those who fear the Lord favour peace are known and remembered :
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Mt 5 :9.
The bloody Colombian war came to an end as the President earnestly desired peace in the country .. The Guardian reports : ”Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday accepted the Nobel Peace prize in Dec 2016, saying it helped make possible the “impossible dream” of ending his country’s half-century-long civil war. In his acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, Santos described the award as a “gift from heaven” and dedicated it to all Colombians, particularly the 220,000 killed and 8 million displaced in the longest-running conflict in the western hemisphere. ”
In this fleeting life full of the abundance of God’s grace . We can gratefully live in peace in certain regions and sadly amidst violent bloody warmongers regions . The gift of peace and life is an awesome grace ..may we learn to live in peace with all men & woman & creation ..and pursue it always .
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself… S. Lewis
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Rm 12:18
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Ps 34:14
Loving Heavenly Father, May your peace that surpasses all understanding transform my heart with all of its yearnings, aspirations, fears, hurts, and concerns, that I may freely desire you above all else and love all others generously for your sake and for your glory. May I turn away from the evil temptations which seduce and attract me and follow you Jesus my Lord in faith and humility . Holy Spirit anoint me to tear down walls of incredulous sinful hostility and empower me to build peaceful bridges of justice , mercy and love ..in your precious Name . Amen
+ Roger Chung Jaomalaza, Former Bishop of Madagascar