Today's gospel sends some mixed messages.... peace and then the final blast of hot judgement a la Sodom and Gomorrah. The mixed bag of this reading reminds us that there is always conflict even among the people of peace.
As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without
cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and
stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace
return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words--go outside that house
or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and
Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
Pope John Paul II reminded us of the importance of peace during his speech to the Representatives of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of the World Religions in Assisi, October 27, 1986
"This Day at Assisi has helped us become more aware of our religious
commitments. But is has also made the world, looking at us through the
media, more aware of the responsibility of each religion regarding problems
of war and peace. More perhaps than ever before in history, the intrinsic
link between an authentic religious attitude and the great good of peace
has become evident to all. What a tremendous weight for human shoulders to
But at the same time, what a marvellous, exhilarating call to
follow! Although prayer is in itself action, this does not excuse us from
working for peace. Here we are acting as the heralds of the moral awareness
of humanity as such, humanity that wants peace, needs peace.
There is no peace without a passionate love for peace. There is no peace without a
relentless determination to achieve peace. Peace awaits its prophets.
Together we have filled our eyes with visions of peace: they release
energies for a new language of peace, for new gestures of peace, gestures
which will shatter the fatal chains of divisions inherited from history or
spawned by modern ideologies.
Peace awaits its builders. Let us stretch our hands towards our brothers and sisters, to encourage them to build peace upon the four pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom. Peace is a workshop, open to all and not just to specialists, savants and strategists.
Peace is a universal responsibility: it comes about through a thousand
little acts in daily life. By their daily way of living with others, people
choose for or against peace… What we have done today at Assisi,
praying and witnessing to our commitment to peace, we must continue to do
every day of our life. For what we have done today’s is vital for the
world. If the world is going to continue, and men and women are to survive
in it, the world cannot do without prayer."