Monday, December 1, 2014

Reflection for Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday of the First Week of Advent

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not rise raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

Today’s first reading contains one of my favorite quotes from the Old Testament, and is particularly appropriate as we begin yet another season of Advent.   Advent is a time of hopeful waiting, a time of peaceful reflection, a time to prepare for the “Prince of Peace” to enter into our world and our lives.  And there is no more desperate time that our world needs the peace of the Lord than now.
From racial conflict and injustice in our very own backyard, to wars halfway around the globe, our society is crying out for peace, desperately wanting to turn swords into plowshares.  At times, I find myself overwhelmed by all of the conflict occurring in our world – just watching the news for 10 minutes can cause me to become very cynical about peace ever being achieved.  It’s easy I think for us to despair in these moments, and ask questions like “What can I possibly do to heal this broken world, to help bring about the peace that our Lord desires?”
That of course is an impossible task – if any of us could bring about world peace by ourselves, it would have already been done.  But if we can’t do that, what can we do?  Perhaps we can take time to reflect this Advent on how we can beat swords into plowshares in our own lives, our own small communities.  What conflicts are we still hanging on to, perhaps with a friend or a family member?  What trespasses have we not yet forgiven?  How I can live peacefully each day?  If we can work on ending the small, petty conflicts that can too often consume our days, maybe that will be a start.
Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”   As we wait for the true peace that only the Lord can bring this Advent season, let us consider the ways we can make this a time to spread peace in our own lives, and the lives of those we love.  And may those small acts of peace create many ripples, and inspire others to turn their swords into plowshares.

Bobby Wassel is the Assistant Director in the Center for Service and Community Engagement.


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