As we heard in yesterday’s gospel reading (Mark 9:38-50), Jesus challenges his disciples about their resistance to someone outside their group doing good in his name, warned them about putting a hurdle between a child and him, told them to cut off their hands and feet and tear out their eyes if those cause them to stumble, and cautioned that not practicing self-discipline can lead to an unquenchable fire. He concluded, for them “be at peace with one another.” The transition is startling.
The best sense I could make of it this week was to see the interconnections between his challenges and warnings about dealing with others and how the heart of it all is his desire for peace among us.
It should not surprise us that our Trinitarian God desires for us to have a trinity of peace: peace with others, peace with self, and peace with God. It is difficult to have any of those peace’s without each of those peace’s.
If my heart is closed to another seeking to do good in Jesus name, it’s difficult for my heart to be open to Jesus. If I’m guilty of harming a child, then my interior peace is lost to guilt and sadness. The stumbling I do is always related to God, others, and myself. One or more of those is diminished by my sinning, usually, it’s all three.
Jesus’ command to be at peace with one another is, as are all his commands, meant to give us fullness of life. He wants his disciples to have peace and teaches us, once more, that that only occurs when we seek to be right with God and neighbor.