I am so honoured to share my reflection, as we observe the UN International Day of Living Together in Peace.

In today’s scripture, we are called to be peacemakers, to foster harmony where there is discord, to sow seeds of unity where division resides. Peace-making is not merely about avoiding conflict. Rather, it is about pursuing reconciliation, understanding and mutual respect. It is about creating spaces where diverse voices can be heard, where differences are not just tolerated but celebrated.

I grew up in South Korea, and while the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1945 happened many years before I was born, it is still a stark reminder of the world’s peace deficit. Hundreds of thousands of families remain separated or displaced, the care for refugees is ongoing, and regular military incidents continue to cause disruptions.

When I was a child, my friends and I frequently sang together of the hope of reconciliation with North Korea. However, I also experienced constant anxiety and waves of fear that North Korea may launch an attack on South Korea. Now as a PhD student in the UK, I am still filled with this anxiety, and a greater fear not for myself, but for my family and friends who live in South Korea. This is a common experience for many Koreans. When I was a teenager, I found the courage to visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. Although this place is often associated with fear and tension, I found a sense of calm and some relief to my anxiety, a testament to God's enduring peace. Life in nearby areas continues as usual, a reminder of resilience in the face of adversity. Amidst this calm, the need for a formal peace agreement on the Korean Peninsula becomes evident. If there is no formal peace agreement, the ideas that fuel my anxiety and fear could still become a reality.

Reflecting on Jesus’s words and my own feelings, I am reminded that the work of peace begins in our hearts. Our journey starts by growing an inner peace, a deep-rooted calm that stems from our relationship with God. And from this place of peace, we can start to bring about change in our world. Let us be peacemakers. Let us strive for unity. Not because it is easy, but because it is what God calls us to do. We are not alone, for we are united in Christ, and it is in Jesus that we find the strength to continue this journey.

The Korean Peninsula's ongoing division calls for united international efforts towards dialogue, understanding, and ultimately, reconciliation. The international campaign, Korea Peace Appeal, continues to work for a transition from armistice to peace on the Korean Peninsula. Peace on the Korean Peninsula would bring inner peace to millions of people. It would be a powerful symbol to the rest of the world of reconciliation, inspiring our international community to strengthen work for peace in a variety of divided regions. Peace on the Korean Peninsula is a path to peace for our world.

As we reflect on the Beatitudes, let these words inspire us, challenge us, and guide us. May we be the peacemakers, who work for peace and unity in our world. And in all things, may we always remember the promise of Jesus, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9). Today, and every day, let us be those peacemakers. Amen.