08 Pursuing Peace - Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:49 AM ]
A new year has just dawned! To the hoots of sirens and the blast of trumpets, to firework displays and the singing of Auld Lang Syne, the world bade goodbye to 2017, and welcomed yet another year. As one looked back at the past year, there was certainly much to be thankful for. Our good God continued to rain down His blessings in abundance to all. Yes, tragedies and suffering continued to be the lot of many too. Sadly, many of the tragedies which affected millions across the globe, though referred to as 'natural' calamities, are in reality man-made, caused by greed, over-consumption, wanton destruction of the eco-system and over-exploitation of natural resources. Above all, war and violence continued to rule the roost; peace in 2017 remained as elusive as ever.

Come 2018, the world will continue to pursue peace. It will not be easy by any count. Despotic leaders, who seem to revel in war and violence, control a good part of the world today. They constantly search for the 'enemy' – very often far away from their own shores. The military-industrial complex has reaped rich profits (drenched in blood) in the recent past. Some economies thrive when wars continue elsewhere. Then there are those countries which continuously display an arrogance, doing what they want, aggravating violence and tension in other parts of the world, despite UN resolutions or the common understanding of most other countries.

It is therefore fitting that for the fifty-first time, the Catholic Church celebrates New Year Day as the 'World Day of Peace' with a universal call for substantial action in the pursuit of peace. This year, the message of Pope Francis is based on the theme: 'Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search of peace'. Given the challenges that most migrants and refugees face today, the message is not merely relevant; it is an urgent call to action. The message begins with the words, "Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence." Pope Francis is making it very clear that his message is addressed to all, that peace is something we all long for, and above all, there are people in this world like migrants and refugees who are deprived of it.