Overcome indifference and win peace
In his World Peace Day message this year Pope Francis invites us to reflect on how we can hope for peace without working to challenge the causes of violence and injustice in our world today. Time and again he has spoken of our ‘throw-away culture’ which dehumanises and destroys the human person, whether through war and conflict or economic injustice.
Peace is to be worked at, and we are greatly heartened by the outpouring of empathy and action that surrounds the current crisis we face of refugees fleeing war and conflict. But unless we combine this with work to stop the causes of war – the global arms trade and our part within it; the billions spent annually on war and war preparations – we will not win peace.
Indeed, how can we hope for peace while we tolerate indifference, letting ourselves remain unmoved by the dramatic situation of so many of our brothers and sisters, and if we do not seek to understand the causes of so much pain and difficulty? Peace will only come when we ask ourselves and our political leaders why conflicts prove so hard to resolve: whose interests are being served by their continuation? Could the $1776 billion spent annually on weapons and war preparations have anything to do with it? What is it that has displaced 59.5 million people from their homes and driven more than 19.5 million of them beyond their homelands’ borders? How come a billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day, that 32% of the world’s population lacks proper sanitation and that 663 million people have no safe drinking water? Not to ask these questions, to be content with the status quo on which our own relative prosperity is based, is itself indifference – and it eats away at the soul.
We cannot do everything. But we can all do something, and make ourselves true friends and servants of the poor. It is inconvenient and hard at times, of course, to open our eyes and hearts; but infinitely worth it because, as Pope Francis promises us, beyond indifference is the prize we seek, the prize of peace.
As in recent years, a Peace Candle will move around each of our 3 Churches for three weeks at a time, starting with Christ the King. Sign up for one of the two day slots, and let the light of our Peace Candle inspire you to prayer and maybe challenge you to action.
Fr Matthew (incl, material from Pax Christi resources paxchristi.org.uk)