“Blessed are the Peacemakers” was the message chosen by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for the 46th World Day of Peace on January 1, 2013. Pope Francis also wrote about “Blessed are the peacemakers” in The Joy of the Gospel on page 111. In the World Day of Peace message, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said it is “alarming” the ways in which we find ourselves involved with conflict such as the inequality between rich and poor, selfishness, individualism and fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion. I was encouraged when his message reminded us of all the different efforts that people make at peacemaking. This is a testament to “mankind’s innate vocation to peace.”
An important lesson I learned during my studies at Creighton University was how the “us” versus “them” mentality can be destructive to ourselves and society. The World Day of Peace message stated “the attainment of peace depends above all on recognizing that we are, in God, one human family--We have all been created in the image of God--The peacemaker, according to Jesus’ beatitude, is the one who seeks the good of the other, the fullness of good in body and soul, today and tomorrow.”
Pope Francis wrote in The Joy of the Gospel, that we often times see conflict but choose to wash our hands free from it or become so involved that we lose our bearings. Pope Francis offers an alternative way. This way is to go beyond the conflict and see others in their deepest dignity. Peace is about everything being in right relationship. Pope Francis continually demonstrates this alternative way, most poignantly during his recent trip to the Holy Land when he invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace with him at the Vatican. Both accepted the invitation. When all else seems to have failed for any hope of peace between Israel and Palestine, how beautiful it will be to humble ourselves, get down on our knees and together call for help.
“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9)
For the entire “Blessed are the Peacemakers” message of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI click here .
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