Peace to the World
My beloved, children of the Christ loving Diocese of Los Angeles,
I congratulate you all on the Feast of the Nativity, asking our Good Lord to make it a blessed and Holy Feast for all of you.
Today, we celebrate the birth of the King of Peace, Who came to the world bearing the message of peace to the entire world. On the day of His birth, a multitude of the heavenly hosts appeared and praised God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2: 13-14).
In His speech to His disciples, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Peace, told them, as well as all of humanity, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth do I give unto you.” (John 14:27).
One of our Church’s beautiful hymns is “O King of Peace, grant us Thy Peace”, which we said tonight; we also chant it on the major feast days and on several other occasions. In it we say, “O King of Peace, grant us Thy Peace, confirm Thy peace in us, and forgive us our sins.”
The Word of God took human flesh from our human nature, except for sin. He came to our world, dwelt amongst us, and became Son of God and Son of Man at the same time.
The King of Peace came to our world so that peace may come upon the entire world.
Peace between man and God.
Peace between man and himself.
Peace between man and his fellow man.
Peace amongst the family members.
Peace for the entire world.
The Incarnation of the Word of God Created Peace between man and God
God created man without corruption and placed him in the Garden of Eden to live peacefully. By His own free will, and under the influence and temptation of the serpent, man chose to disobey God. Consequently, death and corruption entered our human nature; a barrier and an animosity formed between man and God, causing man to lose the peace which God bestowed upon him when He created him.
Through Christ’s life-giving manifestation, death was destroyed, the barrier was removed and the old enmity was abolished. Thus the earth was filled with heavenly peace. We pray in the Liturgy of Saint Basil saying, “…death which entered into the world by the envy of the devil, Thou hast destroyed, by the life-giving manifestation of Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. Thou hast filled the earth with the heavenly peace.”
In the Liturgy of Saint Gregory, we pray and say, “…Thou hast become our mediator with the Fr., and the middle barrier Thou hast destroyed, and the old enmity Thou hast abolished. Thou hast reconciled the earthly with the heavenly and made the two into one.”
The Incarnation of the Word of God created peace within man himself
The corrupted nature of man resulted in an inner conflict within man. The lustful passions and inner desires led man to the path of wickedness and deprived him of peace.
Man became a slave to the law of sin and death until Christ came and delivered him from the law of sin and death. When Christ took flesh without sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. Thus man was liberated from his bondage to sin.
In his Epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul describes this inner struggle, which humanity endured, until Christ’s Incarnation freed man by saying, “For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not do, that I do.” (Rom. 7:19). He also says, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:23-24). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
The Incarnation of the Word of God created peace between man and his fellow man
By His Incarnation, Christ revealed to us the profoundness of God’s love for humanity and presented to us an example of sacrificial and deep love. He commanded us to love one another as He loved us. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 12-13).
In human relations, there is a proportionate relativity between love and peace. As much as genuine love increases between people, as much as peace increases amongst them. Likewise, the opposite is also true.
The Incarnation of the Word of God created peace within the family.
Our Lord Jesus Christ made the marital union divine and eternal, for it is God Himself Who joins the two and not man. This divine bond is an eternal union which man can not separate. “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt 19:6).
The Christian family is formed through the Holy Sacrament of matrimony, in which the Holy Spirit unites the husband and wife making them one body. In Christianity, this relationship between the husband and wife is similar to the relationship between Christ and the Church, Who is His Body. When speaking about the Christian family, Saint Paul compares the relationship between the husband and wife to the relationship between Christ and His Church, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25). It would not have been possible to elevate the family relations to this level if it was not for the Incarnation of God the Word. The Divine Incarnation sets an example to the Christian family, inspiring it to live in sacrificial love, thus allowing peace to prevail.
My beloved brothers and sisters,
Christ came with the message of peace and granted us His peace, which is beyond human comprehension. Why, then, do we find the world not living in peace? Why do we find man struggling with himself and with his fellow man? Why do we find hostility prevalent among many families and the disintegration of the family has become an apparent phenomenon, especially in this society?
The peace of Christ is a divine grace and a free gift. God’s grace and His gifts require a fertile soil that will be receptive to them and rejoice in them.
For us to benefit from Christ’s peace, it is imperative that we have faith in His ability to grant us peace. Let us take refuge in Christ, praying fervently and earnestly, asking Him to fill our hearts with His peace. Saint Paul prays for the Thessalonians saying, “Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thes. 3:16).
Christ’s peace brings forth fruit in a pure heart since the life of peace can not be attained in a sinful life. “There is no peace, saith my God, for the wicked.” (Is. 57:21).
My beloved brothers and sisters, if you feel that Christ’s peace is far from you, search your hearts; there may be a sin that is dwelling in the heart.
Christ’s peace prevails in the family which is created by holy matrimony and which always lives in accordance to this sacrament.
Christ’s peace predominates in the home which lives a holy life, allowing the presence of Christ within it.
Christ’s peace dominates in the society which uses Christ’s principles and teachings as a guide for its values and morals.
Christ promised to grant humanity His peace. His promise is true and honest. But does humanity show its need for Christ’s peace by coming to Him in faith, repentance and humilty, asking for His peace?
Every soul that has tasted and experienced Christ’s incomprehensible peace has a responsibility towards others.
The souls which enjoy Christ’s peace must transmit this mysterious peace to others.
The souls which have been enlightened by Christ’s peace must likewise radiate Christ’s peace to others.
The families which enjoy Christ’s peace must lead other families to the life of the heavenly peace.
We pray that Christ our God may grant peace to the entire world.
We pray for peace of our Holy Church, and for the peace of our beloved father, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, and all the Church fathers.
We pray for peace for all families so that the spirit of sacrificial love, purity, and holy devotion may dominate.
We pray for every soul that has gone astray and is far from Christ’s peace.
We pray for the society in which we live, so that Christian values and morals may prevail.
We pray that the spirit of peace, equality, and justice for all may prevail in the Egyptian society.