Pope Francis invites us to pray this month that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote peace and justice in the world.
The prophet Zechariah wrote about the peace the Lord can give (8: 4-5):
Thus saith the Lord of hosts: There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem: and every man with his staff in his hand through multitude of days. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls, playing in the streets thereof.
The people of Warsaw can hardly have expected a scene like this when their city was devastated during World War II. Old men and women, girls and boys, and a very un-Biblical ice cream stall! But Zechariah does go on to say (v12):
There shall be the seed of peace: the vine shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew: and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
It is God that gives all the blessings of the earth to his people. But it is for us to share and promote his peace (vv 16-17):
These then are the things which you shall do: Speak ye truth every one to his neighbour: judge ye truth and judgment of peace in your gates. And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his friend: and love not a false oath: for all these are the things that I hate, saith the Lord.
There is no magic ‘peace fairy’; judging truth and peace needs hard thinking and openness to the Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.