Sunday, December 9, 2012

Notes from the Corner - Advent II - Peace for the Shepherds

The Forge, Francisco  de Goya (c. 1819)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Peace is the theme of the second Sunday in Advent. When the angelic armies appeared on that starry night outside Bethlehem, they proclaimed to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people whom God favors” (Lk 2:14).

What sort of peace did God bring those sheep herders? What sort of peace could a newborn, still learning to cry and suckle, bring to these hard-working, wind-burned men?
True enough, their fists, staffs, and slings weren’t strangers to doling out an open range kind of violence to sheep rustlers. These shepherds probably bore the scars of a few scuffles with wolves or wild dogs. But, like us, they weren’t soldiers in anybody’s army. What peace does Baby Jesus bring for those of us whose most violent battles happen at work or at home or in the silence of our hearts?
Peace is not only about beating our swords into plowshares; it also means hammering our fear into love. The early morning cry of the infant Jesus was God putting on his blacksmith’s apron and saying, “It’s time for me to get to work.”

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