A MESSAGE OF LOVE AND PEACE
In his peace message titled “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace,” the Holy Father says, “When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promoters of nonviolent peacemaking.
“In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.”
Throughout this extremely challenging New Year’s peace message, Pope Francis boldly raises the moral bar, calling each of us, and each nation, to heed the clear nonviolent way of Jesus: “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).
Justice is not simply about punishing people – it is about putting things right. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” This metaphor sees justice as transformative, like a mighty, surging river. Because justice is an intervening power. It has momentum, it overflows, and it brings the possibility for change and healing. Like a river, justice brings life to a parched land. We need to recover something of this transformative vision for justice, and discover how this can irrigate every level of society.
Justice is an expression of wisdom, which builds community, and seen in right relationships. Seeking justice means seeking wisdom, seeking community, and seeking right relationships.
The absence of justice or the perception of its absence, leads to discontent, acting out, and ill-conceived plans of revenge and retribution. We see this playing out across Europe and many other places where justice or equality across ethnic and religious communities is in disparity. When we have tiers or castes of people who live in the same geography, but lack the same opportunities and access to rights, life, and peace; we see violence, disillusionment, and egregious acts of inhumanity.
Please consider this when looking around your local community; and how you can be an agent of change, a seeker of Justice and a bearer of love for your fellow human beings.