Healing and Peacemaking

We are called by Christ to be peacemakers. Those who make peace are witnesses to the Kingdom of God and are regarded by Christ as God’s own children. We see in Christ’s life a constant witness to what peacemaking involves and, paradoxically, the dangers to which one is exposed by refusing to be anyone’s enemy. Another word for peacemaking is healing. What peacemakers attempt to do in a sicksociety is similar to what physicians attempt to do in caring for the sick. Sickness is a kind of war within the body just as division, injustice, crime, violence, conflict and war are social illnesses. The peacemaker is someone working to heal damaged or broken relationships, whether in the home, the community, the work place, between religious groups in conflict, and between nations. In this issue of In Communion we are looking at aspects of illness, healing and peacemaking.

The engraving on the right, in recalling Christ’s healing of the man born blind, is also a reminder of a more widespread blindness: our inability to see the image of God in the those around us. May Christ heal our eyes. St. Ambrose of Milan, a bishop of the fourth century, uses the metaphor of healing in this passage from an essay on the duties of the clergy:

“Some ask whether, in case of a shipwreck, a man of wisdom should have first right to a plank rather than an ignorant sailor. Although it seems better for the common good that a wise man rather than a fool should survive ship-wreck, yet I do not think that a Christian, a just and a wise man, ought to savehis own life by the death of another; just as when he meets with an armed robber he cannot return his blows, lest in defending his life he should stain his love toward his neighbor. The verdict on this is plain and clear in the books of the Gospel. ‘Put away your sword, for whoever lives by the sword will perish with the sword.’ (Mt 26:52) What robber is more hateful than the persecutor who came to kill Christ? But Christ would not be defended from the wounds of the persecutor, for He willed to heal all by His wounds.”