Wednesday, June 03, 2009

More from Henri on Jesus

a few more thoughts from Henri Nouwen...

Jesus Is a Peacemaker

Jesus, the Blessed Child of the Father, is a peacemaker. His peace doesn't mean only absence of war. It is not simply harmony or equilibrium. His peace is the fullness of well-being, gratuitously given by God. Jesus says, "Peace I leave to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you" (John 14:27).

Peace is Shalom --- well-being of mind, heart, and body, individually and communally. It can exist in the midst of a war-torn world, even in the midst of unresolved problems and increasing human conflicts. Jesus made that peace by giving his life for his brothers and sisters. This is no easy peace, but it is everlasting and it comes from God. Are we willing to give our lives in the service of peace?

Jesus Is in the World Not of It

The Beatitudes offer us a self-portrait of Jesus. At first it might seem to be a most unappealing portrait - who wants to be poor, mourning and persecuted? Who can be truly gentle, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, and always concerned about justice? Where is the realism here? Don't we have to survive in this world and use the ways of the world to do so?

Jesus shows us the way to be in the world without being of it. When we model our lives on his, a new world will open up for us. The Kingdom of Heaven will be ours, and the earth will be our inheritance. We will be comforted and have our fill; mercy will be shown to us. Yes, we will be recognised as God's children and truly see God, not just in an afterlife, but here and now (see Matthew 5:3-10). That is the reward of modelling our lives on the life of Jesus!

Being Like Jesus

Very often we distance ourselves from Jesus. We say, "What Jesus knew we cannot know, and what Jesus did we cannot do." But Jesus never puts any distance between himself and us. He says: "I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father" (John 15:15) and "In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works" (John 14:12).

Indeed, we are called to know what Jesus knew and do what Jesus did. Do we really want that, or do we prefer to keep Jesus at arms' length?