Lent, Peace Spirituality

Lent 2019: Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Lent – No person may be lost; God’s mercy is inclusive

by Rev. Paul Lansu
Senior Policy Advisor, Pax Christi International

[Ed. Note: This is the fifth in a series of reflections throughout Lent from Rev. Paul Lansu. Reflections on the Sunday readings will be posted each week on the Friday before the Sunday which the reflection references. Holy Day reflections will be posted the day before the actual Holy Day. See all of these reflections and other resources at this link.]

Jos 5:9a.10-12 | Ps 34 (33) | 2 Cor 5:17-21 | Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

It is good to come home after a tiring workday, or after a long stay elsewhere. Back home — to know and to feel that you are welcome in a warm and loving environment. Unfortunately, this is not a given for everyone. We think of the many refugees who camp at borders or in railway stations and who do not know where they will ever be at home again.

We also think in this Lenten time of the people in countries such as Colombia or Guatemala. The Lenten fasting campaign reminds us about people in these or other countries where mighty companies and large landowners try to deprive them of their home and land. But people go into peaceful resistance. The desire to come home lives in each of them and also in us. People need ground under their feet and a roof over their heads to feel at home.

Opening a new future

Coming home may also be the youngest son in the gospel after taking a serious step into the world. Before that happened, he had gone through a whole process in himself. He comes to think, says the gospel. But it is stronger: he comes to himself. He now realizes who his father really is, the father he left behind. With that father he can return home unconditionally. In the process that brings him to that recognition, he also recognises himself as a son again. Now he knows who he is: child of his father, at home in the love of his father. If you can come home so well that you can be acknowledged and accepted in spite of everything you have done, then that is really a reason to party.

For the prodigal son, the past became irrelevant. The present became concrete, opening up a new future. He broke free of the chains of humiliation and guilt caused by earlier selfish mistakes. He trusted another, one whom he knew had once loved him, to be loving enough to give him a new start. He trusted himself enough to take it. Often it is this latter ingredient that is missing when we need to turn to our Father or to one another for forgiveness and reconciliation. Despite this hesitancy, we must never defer the opportunity to let go of selfishness, guilt or hurt in order to be reconciled.

Characters in conflict

The gospel story tells us also about the oldest son who never left home and worked hard all his life. But has it ever really been his home? Has he ever really known his father as he is: all love? Or did that father stay with him only from a distance, demanding and never granting him anything? In fact, the eldest son was never really a son and the father was not really ‘father’ to him. How it ends for that eldest son remains open in the story. The choice is there for us. Which way do we want to go? Refuse the love of the father, or go through the process that brings us back home with him?

We are allowed to listen to the call that emanates from people elsewhere: from people in Guatemala or Colombia who want to live in peace; from people who want a home for their children and themselves. They call us to know that we are connected to them, to share their desire that there is a home for everyone. Hearing that call can help us recognise ourselves as who we really are: children of the same Father, of a God who makes us brothers and sisters.

Life is a series of decisive moments strung together by daily routine and ongoing creativity. It is good to recall and to savour, if not always to celebrate, these key moments when the “Yes” or the “No”, the “I will” or the “I will not”, the “I’ll stay” or the “I’ll leave,” changed our lives forever. Recognising and owning such moments awakens us to the realisation that the quality of daily life and of our lifestyle, as well as of our future, is sometimes much more under our control than we care to take responsibility for. Blaming others for the ills of the world, real and imaginary, is very often quite pointless. Being willing to choose the better option in every humdrum situation enables us to go for the gold at the major decisive moments when they arise.

God’s mercy is the new sound in the gospel. The story of a father whose heart still goes out to that runaway youngest son. On his return he sees him from afar. He kisses him, puts him in new clothes and gives him another ring on his finger. And there must be a party. But the father also wants the oldest son who feels the short end of things. He is looking for the eldest son. He listens to his anger and his annoyance. But the father disarms and brings together both the oldest and the youngest son. God’s mercy is inclusive. A new beginning is possible.

Reconciliation is restoring broken relations

A key task of the Christian peace movement is the restoration of broken relations. This reconciliatory work must take place on all levels: individually, within one’s own family and society, and between population groups, nations and religions. Reconciliation is only possible when the various parties acknowledge fault (and are ashamed of past mistakes), ask for, and receive forgiveness. Injustice remains injustice and that is something we should point out. Fault is something we must acknowledge and confess to. We shall respect and return everyone’s dignity. It comes down to a willingness to start over again. Willingness to reconcile is the turning point.

A certain measure of empathy is needed to imagine someone else’s pain, hurt and mistakes. This is a reciprocal process. You must think with your heart and feel with your mind. Reconciliation is not possible without having first put yourself in another’s shoes. In times of crisis, it is also a matter of learning from and living with changes.

iconIcon of reconciliation

For many years Pax Christi sections and many faith groups have been working with the “Icon of Peace and Reconciliation of Pax Christi International.”[i] The icon offers a deep spirituality about forgiveness and restoration of relations. Thinking together, meditating and exchanging ideas about the big challenges of the present day and looking for solutions that leads to new cooperation and possible reconciliation.

Lent is a key stage in our relationship with God. There is no doubting the offer of the Father’s merciful reconciliation and the opportunity of new beginnings. It is accepting or not this offer that is our decision. The prodigal son decided wisely and came home to the one who loved him. God leaves nobody behind.

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[i] https://www.paxchristi.net/about-us/pax-christi-international-icon-reconciliation

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Photo credit: Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son

 

Lent, Peace Spirituality

Lent 2019: Reflection for Third Sunday of Lent – Second breath, a call to take responsibility

by Rev. Paul Lansu
Senior Policy Advisor, Pax Christi International

[Ed. Note: This is the fourth in a series of reflections throughout Lent from Rev. Paul Lansu. Reflections on the Sunday readings will be posted each week on the Friday before the Sunday which the reflection references. Holy Day reflections will be posted the day before the actual Holy Day. See all of these reflections and other resources at this link.]

Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15 | Ps 103 (102) | I Cor 10:1-6, 10-12 | Lk 13:1-9

Calling out in the desert. We all know that feeling. No one hears; no one listens. When we do get a response, we find a second breath. With that second breath, we can call again, re-engage and re-believe. We hear that Moses finds a second breath after God calls him from the burning bush. In addition, we read that the vinedresser finds a second breath and commits himself to the up-to-now barren fig tree.

Members of justice and peace groups and social organisations need a long-term commitment, a second breath, to engage themselves permanently. A second breath that God always gives.

In everything that happens, we consistently look for the responsibility of others and we look less critically at our own share. If we want to build a better, peaceful, more just future, then each of us must take responsibility. Making mistakes is very human. You can correct errors (or have them repaired). But not taking responsibility or even turning the blame on to someone else is bad and a shame.

Moses cannot but accept his responsibility. He knows that his people live in slavery in Egypt; it does not let him go. In the burning bush, he hears the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: “I have seen the misery of my people. I know their suffering. I come to liberate my people.” Moses calls for the name of this God. But this is a God who cannot be captured in words and pictures. Moses must do with: “I am who I am.”

The gospel does not evade responsibility. Jesus tells the parable of the fig tree, a metaphor for the city of Jerusalem. The fig tree produces no fruits; Jerusalem is corrupt, playing the game of the powerful nations around it and not a city of peace. Jesus is strict, pointing out the bad situation, but leaves an opening for a new beginning. This way the fig tree gets a second chance and Jerusalem a second breath.

Every Sunday of this Lenten time, the theme of the Exodus returns, a symbol of every road that leads from slavery to liberation, from injustice to justice, from violence to nonviolence. The temptations are not lacking on this route. In spite of God’s constant care, the Israelites succumb and die in the desert. Christians are also not immune to the dangers of evil. Contemporary forms of evil are poverty, hunger, exclusion, violence, underdevelopment, discrimination, racism and more.

Christians should continuously inspire and encourage each other to safeguard human dignity, both in human growth and in human suffering and dying. Reciprocal love shall be humanity’s culture.

Read the signs of the time

This requires continuous nourishment and ‘resourcing’, looking for and giving purpose from a Biblical tradition. The gospel asks us to regularly test and explain the signs of the time. What is currently taking place in the world and what is its deeper meaning? Forever daring to ask the question: what is our society today like and what must be done to communally turn all people in this society into better people?

The never-ending effort of people to live together with others and to form a true society means that one person’s good life contributes to someone else’s good life too. Helping one another is essential to this process. Among other things, it is about care, well-being, charity, compassion, solidarity and assistance toward each other.

Sometimes it goes beyond that and one has the duty to help people in need, even thos ‘unknown people’ who are in need. This then often leads to dilemmas: where lie the boundaries of human or individual responsibility and where begins the state’s responsibility? Dilemmas are not negative or threatening; rather they make life interesting.

Volunteer work is like yeast in the dough

Pax Christi International is essentially a peace movement of volunteers. The “acte gratuity” may be understood as an essential component in social commitment soliciting reciprocity, commitment, generosity and responsibility. Peace workers always need a second breath. After all peace work is an unfinished agenda, unfortunately enough. Their persuasion and taking responsibility make them agents of change — an effort in line with the Biblical image of “yeast in the dough.”

Working for justice and peace is done in the understanding that the human being is not a solitary being but a social being and that his or her integral development primarily needs relations to fulfill his or her destiny.

Building peace is not solely something done for and through ‘professionals’. Working on peace is everyone’s responsibility. Peace is every person’s calling. That is why we ask ‘all people of good will’ to cooperate. The communal frame is the need for a peaceful and just life. Every person and population group has the right to peace and security. I am sure, convinced, that I will only feel safe and well when others share that feeling. Christian peace work offers a platform where people can meet and communicate and, importantly, eliminate potential disagreements.

It is a virtue to bring people together. A good society is characterised by a fruitful tension between space for difference and the search for what we hold in common. The political community is thus at the service of the human community. That requires social pluralism, so a diversity of goods can be shown to its full advantage.

The justice and peace sector not only needs many professionals but also needs many who continue to live from a necessary urgency to seek and give meaning in life.

Again, we are invited to live through this Lenten season of faith, reconciliation, generosity and service, culminating in the Easter mystery. This season is meant to bear fruit in our lives.

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Photo credit: http://www.techofheart.co/2008/01/what-burning-bush-spoke-so-spoke-mansur.html
Lent, Peace Spirituality

Lent 2019: Reflection for Second Sunday of Lent – Time for making space in silence

by Rev. Paul Lansu
Senior Policy Advisor, Pax Christi International

[Ed. Note: This is the third in a series of reflections throughout Lent from Rev. Paul Lansu. Reflections on the Sunday readings will be posted each week on the Friday before the Sunday which the reflection references. Holy Day reflections will be posted the day before the actual Holy Day. See all of these reflections and other resources at this link.]

Gen 15:5 –18 | Ps 27 (26) | Phil 3:17 – 4:1 | Lk 9:28 – 36

How can silence be a calling? Abraham experiences it in his sleep. In addition, Jesus practises silence during prayer. A silent protest may sound louder than shouts and screams. The silence after the peace agreements in countries such as Guatemala or Colombia cries out over injustice and negligence. What call do we hear in silence? Is it the call to repentance? The call for engagement and commitment can sound strong. Do we listen to the cry we hear from silence or not?

The gospel of today shows us Jesus as a signpost. He takes us up the mountain. He invites us to pray. That clearly shows where he lives from. That is from his connection with God. His face starts to shine. It is a “mountaintop” moment for him. According to tradition, Mount Tabor is the mountain of the transformation.

Heaven and earth meet at the top

Biblically, a mountain is the place where heaven and earth meet. A mountain is always the place to meet God. On top of that mountain, Jesus also meets two other significant figures from the history of God with the people: Moses and Elijah. Those are testimonials in faith. Two shining examples. Through them Jesus may be guided in his mission. As a second Moses, he wanted to free the children of Israel from the land of their fears; as a second Elijah, he called them away from their idols, to the true religion and the true human service: love God and love your neighbour. Just like we can give light to each other on our way.

The top of a mountain is not a holiday resort

However, mountaintop moments rarely last long, as it is also today. It is no permanent residence on top of the mountain. Peter and his companions get to hear that when they want to build three tents. Life demands that we have to go down the mountain again, into the valley, to share the life of the people in its true form. That life is often raw and hard. We sometimes experience it ourselves.

Jesus is also waiting for another mountain. That is Mount Golgotha, that of the cross and of the totality of God’s abandonment. On his way there, Jesus will show solidarity with the innumerable many who ask in desperate suffering where God remains and when there will finally be justice for them.

“I have been to the mountaintop,” Martin Luther King, Jr said. With that vision in mind, he managed to hold himself in valleys of deep darkness. We must remain faithful to our calling on earth. We keep the vision on the mountaintop in mind so that we can trust that in our valleys of darkness nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Every person is equal and entitled to solidarity, giving and receiving

Lent helps us to focus on two things. Firstly, it emphasises that everything in life is fragile, for suffering and death are both a part of life. Scripture says that we should treat each other as equals, use our time and talents well and not just rely on our own strength in life but make some space for God too.

Secondly, Lent tells us that, because we are all vulnerable in different ways, we should practise solidarity. If we feel down, then faith in the goodness and meaning of life can be restored when someone helps us back on our feet again. When we are in a position to help, then we should do so, for it is a luxury and a privilege to be the helper. Who knows what tomorrow may bring — we may then be the ones needing help. People of faith are problem solvers!

It is true that solidarity has been deeply impacted by individualism and materialism. We are glad to see that the many services and the strong grassroots social presence touching all layers of society – yet with an option for the poor, the marginalised and the suffering – are a stabilising asset for all communities and, politically speaking, for democracy. Nobody can be left behind.

Serving the common good

Living in solidarity entails striving for the common good, or the ‘bonum commune’, together. Society should develop in harmony with every person and his/her environment, and to everybody’s content. Solidarity calls for tangible acts. It is a time for action. Every person deserves help, especially in situations of war or other needs, such as people on the run.

As a human being, one inevitably lives in the company of others, both locally and globally. Society belongs to everyone and people thus live in a participatory manner. The social fabric in which people live has both local and global characteristics. That social fabric should be, or is, the medium for life in peace and harmony with other people and our surroundings.

Let silence speak in circles of solidarity

Jesus, a vulnerable human being, is in solidarity with our need, the one in whom God’s face is here as a promise, a hope of life. That may be called a Tabor experience. It is a foretaste at Easter, on our passage from death to life. I wish you a Tabor experience occasionally, one in which we may experience God’s light occasionally in our lives. This is possible if we are guided by God’s word as it comes to us in Scripture, in prayer, in silence, in the life of Jesus. It is possible when we meet people who are as good as God is. Such people make us shine, recognising our deepest being. Let us be such people for each other.

The formation of silence circles for an hour or so to reflect on injustice and suffering of people can mean listening to the call to connectedness and change, listening to the cry of the earth and of the poor. An hour of silent prayer – or just silence in a circle – can be a strong testimony to our solidarity with the weak in our society and elsewhere. The silence speaks and the circle of solidarity grows.

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Photo credit: https://www.quietrev.com/no-solitude-no-revelation/
Lent, Peace Spirituality

Lent 2019: Reflection for First Sunday of Lent – Pull back to discover what is important

by Rev. Paul Lansu
Senior Policy Advisor, Pax Christi International

[Ed. Note: This is the second in a series of reflections throughout Lent from Rev. Paul Lansu. Reflections on the Sunday readings will be posted each week on the Friday before the Sunday which the reflection references. Holy Day reflections will be posted the day before the actual Holy Day. See all of these reflections and other resources at this link.]

Deut 26:4-10 |  Ps 91 (90) | Rom 10:8-13 | Lk 4:1-13

It is often suggested that each stage of a person’s life is deeply influenced by a particular event, emotion or drive. While pride is ever-present in our hearts, the suggestion is that sometimes young people seek only fun or pleasure and look for an ambitious future; the middle-aged long for stability and status; and many elderly put their hope in certainty and possessions. Some people find such wayward trends alive and well in every stage of their lives and are happy in the ongoing human struggle by inviting Christ to be with them as they grow gradually in the gospel values that redirect these strong human ambitions.

The desert is a learning place

Indeed, before starting a new phase of life, it is worth considering: where do I start? What is important in my life? Why do I want that? What does this mean for my life? A person can withdraw, go to an abbey or search for some silence in the mountains, take a time out, or, like Jesus, go into the desert.

In the Bible, “desert” has its own meaning. It is “a learning place.” You can learn life, consider the important choices that a person has to make and try to give them place. That’s how Jesus did it. He left his family and home, knowing himself as very close to God. And before giving an answer to the call of God, he thought deeply about it. It is about struggling against the temptations that every person knows, the temptations that can keep us from our deepest vocation. In the Gospel, Jesus is tested in his authenticity. Does he, as a preacher behind the scenes, give up his principles when he is offered wealth and status?

Temptations can be part of life!

Today’s gospel recounts in a vividly descriptive way how Christ himself experienced comparable temptations. The bread he was offered when he was hungry is a symbol of how easy it is to justify putting our own comfort and pleasure before the needs and rights of others. His trip to the high mountain with its offer to control many kingdoms alerts us to how we can be tyrants in small ways through emotional blackmail in our families or communities and through pressure groups on the job or in school.

Jesus stayed in the desert for forty days. This refers to the deserts of the Jewish people who lasted forty years. Moses also had to flee to that desert when it all got too much for him. A bush that burns but does not burn up brings him to the realisation: this is a sacred place; here one can meet with God.

By sticking to his principles and his words Jesus showed that the short-lived temptations of power and wealth are inferior to values that last. Yes, status and power are desirable but, in the end, they are passing joys which can drive you mad with addiction and destroy you and your freedom in the process. The biblical advice to set “your heart on things that last because they give you greater peace” does not mean that one choice excludes the other, but rather that we should not worship them as gods.

At the beginning of this Lent, these desert stories about Moses and Jesus also have a special meaning for us. Their message is: we can experience God more than we think. There is more in this world, more around us than we suspect.

In each situation, the choice is between selfishness and the other’s good, between settling for human limitations and accepting our greatness as God’s children. Lent is a time to strengthen the choice to belong enthusiastically to God’s family.

See the good in people

We should live the connection between our prayer, our words and our actions; we should avoid hypocrisy and do good works without telling the whole world about it. We are simply good because God lives in us and, as such, our reward is a better world, a more peaceful heart and the fact that we do not have to hide behind false facades.

We sometimes make mistakes. However, making mistakes in itself is not sinful. It is far worse and sinful to do nothing.

When we see the good in people and bring out the best in each other, there is no distinction between Jew or Greek, between Catholics or Orthodox, between Hindu or Muslims, between Shiites or Sunni, between natives and immigrants. We do not have to prove anything or convert others because who we are and what we do will speak for itself.

Living in a communal home

People are a fundamental part of the earth – the Creation – as the ‘communal home’ in which all creatures have a place. The Encyclical Laudato Si [1] is offering a new grammar of ecology and the virtues that lay the foundation for a new lifestyle, proposing that a dynamic tension must be maintained between a preferential option for the poor and an encouragement of human industry, in furthering the common good.

Ecological issues such as polluted rivers and oceans, air pollution or global warming are increasingly playing out internationally and politically. Climate change has become the most important international issue. These issues concern the direct living conditions of people and have, among other things, bearing on working conditions, fair salaries, working with clean paint materials and non-toxic pesticides. We all know that resources have limits. In the end we will all gain if we can use our resources responsibly.

Putting faith into motion

People’s desire for ever more consumption of goods is the underlying source of today’s spiritual crisis. The message is to carefully handle the earth’s resources. It is a matter of enjoying the ‘enough’. A possible eighth work of mercy [2] is the care for climate, the care for our communal home, the earth.

Every Lent comes with an opportunity to make our love more visible. We call it the Lenten campaign. An idea could be that you put a tree in your church, place of worship, your office or even at home. That tree needs leaves on it so that at Easter it can symbolise new life. The leaves could be made available in some baskets put close to the tree. Before people hang them on the tree, you can write your Lenten gift on them. Not money, but energy! There might be ideas to give back either to the planet or save energy to guarantee sustainable living.

All these eco-gifts could be an Easter-gift. God entrusted us with the task of taking care of his creation. By giving energy in one way, or saving it in another, we can experience the Resurrection because our faith has been put into motion. This doesn’t just benefit ourselves but also raises up the world around us. May our Lent turn ashes into new life.

[1] http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_of_mercy

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Photo credit: https://rwelling3.artstation.com/projects/nY53K
Lent, Peace Spirituality

Lent 2019: Reflection for Ash Wednesday – Beginning the Lenten season

by Rev. Paul Lansu
Senior Policy Advisor, Pax Christi International

[Ed. Note: This is the first in a series of reflections throughout Lent from Rev. Paul Lansu. Reflections on the Sunday readings will be posted each week on the Friday before the Sunday which the reflection references. Holy Day reflections will be posted the day before the actual Holy Day.]

Joel 2:12-18 | Psalm 51 (50) | 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Ash Wednesday is a liturgical event that gives us, in the middle of our week of work, a moment to reflect on where all of our being and work is taking us. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season and falls forty-six days before Easter.

Ash Wednesday is a day of additional prayer, fasting and repentance. “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” It shows how relative everything in life is. Today we say, “Repent and be faithful to the Gospel.”

Fasting, solidarity and prayer are the three works of the season of Lent and is a time of preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. People should not need to ask where their God is, because he should be visible and tangible in people who “have opened their hearts to him and are therefore rich in kindness. We are the incarnation of God.”

Helping to carry the crosses of misery

These forty days are a moment in which believers express, more than ever, their concrete solidarity with people, in our own society or abroad, who suffer from injustice, famine, poverty, insecurity or violence. Many people carry their daily cross! We are ready, or prepared ourselves, to carry the crosses of poverty and exploitation. To carry suffering together makes the crosses lighter as well.

See the image of God in others

Lent alerts us to our need of God through our relationships with human beings, especially with the weakest of our societies. We look at God through the faces and eyes of the others: the poor, the hungry and the hurt. The Lenten period invites us to clean away the corrosion of selfishness and to share his love with others as he told us to do.

Conflicts and wars, violence in response to climate change, the growing gap between rich and poor. More than ever, our time calls for radical choices.

Lent is about decisions and making choices; deciding to pray and to see more clearly what is important; to be connected and reconciled with the other; to make contact with God as his people on the road. Our life is always a work in progress.

The trumpet of Joël

Now that we are going into the fasting period the strong appeal of Joël sounds again. He uses the trumpet – today the megaphone – to call and collect everyone, young and old. The call is to return to the Source of our Life and to realize what it really is about. To turn the tide and live again from God. With Jesus, we learn that repentance, examination and change of lifestyle mature and grow in silence.

Importance of our motivation to fast

The prayer that may accompany the ashes is “remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” It is a stern warning that death awaits each of us sooner rather than later. Unless we give up our selfishness, we are doomed. Lent is a lived out reminder that the cross of Calvary is the announcement of God’s love for us. One’s life is worth so much to God that he died for each one of us. God’s gift of love is total, unconditional and forever. It requires that we love ourselves deeply so that loving others as we love ourselves evokes heroic generosity in us. Lent is an ongoing announcement of God’s offer of himself. We are invited to absorb this love and make it present daily in our world through justice, truth seeking, reconciliation, generosity and forgiveness.

During his life Christ made it very clear that fasting is not about what you do or give up, but about the motivation for doing it. Just giving up sweets for example does not really make the world a better place or you a happier person. Our way of fasting can have an effect on the world and our personal spirituality only when our hearts return to God and when our deeds match our words. Hypocrisy is the opposite of fasting. When you fast, make it a part of an Easter journey. The good news of the risen Lord motivates us to identify with those who have crosses to carry.

Faith in action

Many Pax Christi members and Christians (such as our member organisation in the United Kingdom) give on Ash Wednesday a witness to nuclear war preparations. This is carrying the cross of the possible destruction of our planet. This is faith in action. Nuclear weapon states are modernising their nuclear arsenals while the threat and possession of nuclear weapons needs to be condemned and complete nuclear disarmament should be realised in order to save our planet. Ash Wednesday is a day to come to new visions — not only in the way of being a human in our society or our world but also in the field of peace and security, also in the field of international politics. The call for conversion is to total nuclear disarmament.

Worship linked to our action in the world can make a difference. Our fast is at the same time our feast, because our word is our deed. I wish you all a very meaningful Lent.

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Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/czarny_bez
Peace, Peace Spirituality

Homélie de Mgr Stenger à la Marche pour la Paix de Landevennec le 1er janvier 2019

par Mgr Marc Stenger, Pax Christi France

stengerEn ce matin du 1er janvier, pour commencer l’année, nous célébrons Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu, car c’est elle qui nous a donné l’auteur du Salut qui accompagnera notre route tout au long de cette année. En ce matin du 1er janvier, pour commencer l’année nous avons marché avec le Prince de la Paix pour qu’advienne et s’accroisse la paix dans nos maisons, dans nos familles, dans nos nations, sur notre terre.Chaque Eucharistie, à commencer par celle-ci, est pour nous l’occasion d’accueillir le don de la paix de Dieu qui prend corps en Jésus Ressuscité et d’en faire avec lui notre feuille de route. Au début de cette Eucharistie, nous voulons reconnaître tout ce qui dans nos vies fait obstacle à cette feuille de route.

« Que le Seigneur te bénisse et te garde ! Que le Seigneur fasse briller sur toi son visage, qu’il se penche vers toi ! Que le Seigneur tourne vers toi son visage, qu’il t’apporte la paix ! ». Comme elle est belle cette bénédiction que nous offre la liturgie d’aujourd’hui, dans le livre des Nombres que nous venons d’entendre ! C’est le souhait le plus grand, le souhait de l’Eglise pour chacun de nous, déclare le pape François dans son homélie de la messe du 1er janvier 2014, le souhait que nous devrions faire les uns pour les autres.

Il est significatif de réécouter ces paroles de bénédiction au commencement d’une année nouvelle. Elles avaient été données par Dieu à Moïse pour son peuple. Elles nous sont offertes pour accompagner notre chemin en ce temps qui s’ouvre devant nous. Ce sont des paroles de force, de courage, d’espérance. Non pas une espérance illusoire fondée sur de fragiles promesses humaines, ni une espérance naïve qui imagine un avenir meilleur seulement parce qu’il est l’avenir. Mais une espérance fondée sur la rencontre du visage de Dieu dans notre histoire humaine…

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