PEACE ON EARTH
by Metropolitan Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli
"Glory be to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will among men." This is the hymn which was sung by the group of angels, almost two thousand years ago.
Is there peace on earth? This word has been commercialized to an extent that it has lost its real meaning and purpose. It has been vulgarized and abused.
Great nations, small nations, communities, individuals, commit the greatest crimes under the cover of peace. Where are we from peace today? Yes, the angels cried, "on earth peace," but humanity has been suffering from wars, diseases, natural calamities, hatred, mistrust, vengeance, and killings. Planes collide and hundreds of thousands of people die for no reason; gales and hurricanes rise and devastate homes, gardens, trees and take a huge number of human lives; the ocean rises to break and swallow ships and human beings.
For the last fifty years, humanity has witnessed two world wars and has suffered unbelievable losses. New nations have seen the light. Cries for independence and self-determination overshadow any other cry, but with the emergence of the new nations and with the ever-growing cry of freedom and independence, humanity is far from solving its problems. New crimes, new massacres, new hatreds, vengeances, and diseases have arisen. Humanity today, like the humanity of old is deceiving itself. If Hamurabi Ramses, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar couldn't solve our problems, so also, Napoleon, Hitler and the present rulers of today are unable to do so.
We hear today in the opposite camp the cry for peace, but under cover, huge stocks of the most dreadful weapons are piled up to be used to kill and annihilate human life. We admit the fact that we are more advanced than our ancestors in every field of science and knowledge, but it does not make the slightest difference. Men are still killing one another. The only difference, and as a result of our progress, mass killing is more perfected today than ever before.
The memories of the last war are still fresh in our minds. Disturbances and bloody revolts are almost in every continent and country; social and family problems are on the increase, there is no mutual trust, fidelity or integrity. Man thinks he can solve his problems without the help of God. The results are misunderstanding, deception and dangerous deviation in our social order and structure.
Yes, the angels are still singing the hymn of peace and in spite of the fact that peace is a reality, we misunderstand its real meaning. The incarnation of our Lord is a reality, the Kingdom of God is at hand, but it is for those who choose it. The Kingdom of God is the kingdom of true peace, the peace that we have when we belong to Jesus and His Church.
We can have peace in spite of all the atomic bombs and armies. Our peace is the peace of mind, the peace that is from above, the peace of God.
Our world is the world of appearance. Don't be misled by the false prophets of social reform and human justice. There is no reformation, no justice, outside of God. He is our hope and our life. His kingdom is for those who accept His Word and do His Will. Let us really be His children; let us constantly pray that we may get His blessings and His forgiveness in this new year, and that we may have the power and strength to quell our passions and our treacherous and wrong desires. Let us worship God that we may be filled with His grace and love.
Do not be proud of your own personal achievement. Pride is the source of all sin, and no matter how much you do, you still have more to do. Our whole life is a struggle and strife to achieve a better life. There is no rest and no retirement.
May Almighty God grant all the knowledge of His truth, and may each and every one of us have peace, love and understanding. May we forgive one another that we may help one another and may we be liberated from the slavery of our egoism and selfishness. May God grant our sick health and restoration and comfort the hearts of the suffering, and may He repose the souls of all our beloved ones in His glorious and happy kingdom.
From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America