The Hebrew word “shalom” we often translate into English as “peace,” but as so often happens in translations of one language to another so much of the depth of the meaning and sentiment of the words and the world behind the words are lost or worse, misconstrued or just plain incorrect!
The fullness of shalom means so very much more than just peace; so much more than just the absence of war. Shalom means happiness, good health, prosperity, friendship, and well- being. Shalom means right-relationship with God and right relationship with your neighbor --it is so much more than “peace”.
In today’s Gospel, in a very real way, Jesus is talking about shalom; about working to restore the ancient roots of our relationships with one another, recognizing that we are sister and brother, that we are bound to each other in and through our having been created, brought into being by God.
Jesus recognizes that we hurt one another and that we must seek to repair the injuries and to both seek and to offer forgiveness. We must work to forgive and to restore what was taken or destroyed as well as being willing to be healed of the hurt and the suffering that was inflicted upon us.
We must be willing to “be SHALOM” for the world. Not just for ourselves, but for the sake of the world! Shalom means becoming aware of my own careless words or actions that have wounded, becoming aware of when I have hurt someone, then seeking them out to mend the relationship. Shalom means a recognition of our common sisterhood and brotherhood, of our interconnectedness that flows through our very veins. It is a recognition of our common lineage, our common ancestry as the children of God, made from the dust of the earth and given life by the very breath of God.
Shalom means there is no place for white supremacy and white privilege; there is no place for a world where we value one person over another based on the color of their skin or the place of their birth, their sexual orientation, their socioeconomic status, their gender or their immigration status!
Shalom means that I am called to stand back and reflect on my own biases in how I treat others, to reflect on my own micro aggressions towards others and how and what I think of others in the recesses of my heart, and take meaningful steps to work to be more loving and kind towards others and treat them as my sister, as my brother!
When we wish “Shalom” to someone we wish them happiness, good health, prosperity, friendship, and well-being, and right- relationship with God and with all their neighbors...and so much more! You and I are called “TO BE SHALOM” to and for all of our sisters and brothers, and for the world itself!
In the midst of all that is happening in the world today we hear the clarion call for total racial equality, in the midst of economic suffering, war and famine, in the midst of all of the suffering of our sisters and brothers how can I “BE SHALOM” in my family, my workplace, in my school, in my community, in my country?
May the SHALOM of God be upon you all!