Blessed Are The Peacemakers

A reflection from the recent 5th National Peace Camp held at St. Thomas Parish, Rang-ay, Banga, South Cotabato, Philippines with the theme- The Youth Upholding Peace and Reconciliation.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Source - https://pixabay.com/en/dove-flying-peace-olive-branch-41260/

BY SILVER P. COMILA

Blessed are the peacemakers
With the realities that is happening in our country today, especially in Mindanao, involve someone you know and ask them if they love war. I bet all responses will be a big ‘NO’ and most of them will say, “we all want peace, we love peace, we like peace.”

How about you? Do you love peace?  What does peace really mean to us?

In an answer to these questions, let me quote first a passage in the Bible I reflected from one of the lectures of the attended 5th national peace camp. Matthew 5:9 tells

us that we are blessed if we want peace and if we love it. Yes, we all love peace and we really want to have it but the added question is, do we end only in loving peace? Note that in the verse alone, Jesus is saying that we should not only love peace but also to pursue and make an effort to bring peace especially in the communities afflicted by war, poverty, conflicts, disasters and abandonment. My friends, take heed of this message- “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.” I know that you also know the difference between a peace lover and a peace maker. Choose the one where you should belong and take the challenge to spread peace.

When I first attended the peace camp held in 2014 at Conner, Apayao, I was one among the many who quipped that the situation they are discussing are just not in my arena of interest. I also have my reservations and I wanted to engage in arguments. It was, however, looking and immersing myself for the first time in Mindanao upgraded my realizations of pursuing peace. There were many ways how it affected my life as a Christian but I only want to focus on two things.

Realizations

First is our exposure in the B’laan community of South Cotabato. When we visited their community, the B’laans gave us a friendly, hospitable, kind and cheerful welcome. However, behind these traits are the marks of non-peaceful situations. It pains me so much and it does not give me peace when I heard their stories about eating their meals for only twice in a day. When I heard that they only earn about 100-200 pesos a day for their families. When I heard that their community is distant to a hospital. When I heard that their community was once a passageway for the New People’s Army. And most especially, when I heard that they are already contented for what they have in life. They even say that such situation already gives them enough peace. These led me to pose a greater challenge for my students in the feature writing workshop I facilitated. I taught them not to meddle in politics but to involve themselves in the peacekeeping process by standing up, serving and defending for those who are poor and neglected.

Second is to consider the situation of different groups in Mindanao like the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. I recalled one time when the SAF 44 were killed and that justice is still what the relatives were finding. Never known to us, the families of the Moro people who are considered an indigenous group in our country seeks the same justice. This gave me an eye opener about what is really happening in some provinces of Mindanao. That because of what happened and because of media, they never received help and were being stereotyped as evils. We may think here

in the north that they really deserved it but believe me, the Moro people never wanted to have war. They also strive to seek peace and reconciliation and that they only want something for their community. That is why it is important to encourage everyone especially the churches to support peace talks for the betterment of some provinces in Mindanao. We may find the right way to become a peacemaker by understanding and seeking more knowledge to those people whom we considered as opponents. I for one do not say we become one –sided but to be a neutralizer to both parties. This is what Jesus commanded us to do and it goes with his second greatest commandment which is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Pursuing peace by starting it within ourselves

These are the only things I can share from the peace camp and I know that beyond all the things we need to do to support peace talks, I do believe that true peace starts within ourselves. Let me repeat, true peace starts within ourselves. That before knowing and understanding what it really means to have peace with our neighbors and enemies, we need to know first about God, his goodness to humanity, his grace and his promised salvation through Jesus Christ. Remember that the first greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and then the second is like it which is to love our neighbors as ourselves. This verse which can be found in Matthew 22:36-40 presents an ordinal number (first, second) and I think it cannot be reflected as a way to say the first greatest commandment is greater than the second greatest commandment. It answers more of the question how we can show our love to our neighbors?

Even in the five marks of Anglican mission, I don’t know if it was co-incidental or if it was written for a purpose but the first two mission relays the message about knowing more about God and his kingdom. In the Ten Commandments, the first four commandments pertain to a law about our relationship to God.

All these sums up only one thing, it is to start our personal faith and relationship to God.

How can we know how to spread peace if our faith has not been strengthened? How can we know how to spread peace if we don’t have a relationship to God? How can we spread peace if we don’t start it within ourselves and our churches? By this, I pose a challenge to everyone in this church to commit ourselves as peacemakers through starting it within ourselves and by committing to evangelism, worship and in being part of the different ministries of this church (ECW, BSA, SKEP, Choir and others). We can start becoming peacemakers by offering and surrendering ourselves to God. On the process God will then give us a peaceful mind that we need, a desire to live in peace, and a passion to spread the real meaning of shalom. All these can be achieved by his grace that flows in our life, then we can open it out to the peace that our community needs.



Article Written By goldstay

Gold stay is the username for Silver P. Comila, a nurse, a teacher and a licensed financial consultant whose one passion is writing and a contributor to this site. His niche is writing financial literacy and health-related articles. He's also one of those who desire to help every Filipino family achieve a sense of financial wellness. Drop him a message at silver_prof07@yahoo.com to learn more.

Posted on 30-08-2017 60 2

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