Marx said that religion was the opium of the people.
But I also know that charity can be the opium of the rich.
St. Alberto Hurtado, S.J.
The proclamation of the love of God
will always shock the powerful of this world.
Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P.
Do you think that I have come to bring peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
Luke 12: 51
Most of us want a religion that brings us peace and tranquility, that makes us feel good. And, in one sense, that is good. Our God is a God of peace.
But so often we settle for a peace that is just the absence of conflict.
In several workshops I’ve facilitated here I ask people to tell me what come to mind when I mention the word “conflict.” In almost every case, the descriptions are negative.
But Jesus tells us that he, who is our peace, brings conflict and division.
Real consolation – and peace – can be found in the midst of conflict, when we have our eyes fixed on God, when we cling to the Truth, and act with love and mercy.
It’s not enough to cling to God and the truth. We need love and mercy.
How often I have run across people whose causes I support who just turn me off. (I’ve probably done this to people, also.) Their manner of advocating for peace or justice or whatever just turns me off. They don’t seem to reflect love and mercy.
And so, when divisions arise, it is important to consider whether the division is because of me or because of the Truth of God in what I am doing or saying. That makes all the difference.