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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Advent, Peace Spirituality

Reflection for Christmas

from Pax Christi France

Pax Christi France has put together a series of prayers and reflections for the weeks of Advent and Christmas. You can download the entire resource at this link in French. 

Christmas

Finding a place to live in peace…

Readings: Is 9:1-6 | Titus 2:11-14 | Lk 2:1-14

Extract from the letter of Pope Francis

May peace be upon all the people and all the nations of the earth! This peace, which the angels announce to the shepherds on Christmas Eve, is a deep yearning for everyone and for all peoples, especially those who suffer the most from their absence. Among them, which I carry in my thoughts and in my prayer, I want once again to remind the more than 250 million migrants in the world, of whom 22 and a half million are refugees. The latter, as affirmed by my beloved predecessor Benedict XVI, “are men and women, children, young people and old people who are looking for a place to live in peace”.

For reflection

“When Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem, no one opens the door for them; there is no place for them. Yet this indifference does not cool God’s love for humanity. The charity of Christ extends to all men without distinction. No one is excluded from it.”

  • According to Fr. Antoine de Lavaur, will we be those who close their doors in the name of our comfort and tranquility?
  • Or, will we recognise him, more than just a person to help, but above all a brother to welcome with his wealth and his differences?

Prayer

Lord, you call us
To take the path of the encounter,
Open to the other,
From another country, from another culture.
Help us get started, together.
Imbue us with your word
So that we can
Give body to your Gospel.

AMEN

For deeper consideration

Many initiatives are taken by our parishes or our communities to host refugee families or to support the integration of migrants. What if I took the time to hear of what exists next to my home and how I can take part in it?

Advent, Peace Spirituality

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 23 December 2018

from Pax Christi France

Pax Christi France has put together a series of prayers and reflections for the weeks of Advent. Each Saturday, we’ll post those reflections on the blog for the upcoming Sunday. You can download the entire resource at this link in French. 

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 23 December 2018

Here I am at home with you!


Readings: Mic 5:1-4 | Ps 79 | Heb 10:5-10 | Lk 1:39-45

Extract from the letter of Pope Francis

“Welcoming” recalls the need to expand the possibilities of legal entry, to not push refugees and migrants back to places where persecution and violence await them, and to balance the concern for national security with the protection of fundamental human rights.

The Scripture reminds us of this: “Do not forget hospitality: it has allowed some, without knowing it, to entertain angels.”

“Protect” recalls the duty to recognise and guarantee the inviolable dignity of those fleeing a real danger in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their exploitation. I am thinking, in particular, of women and children who are in situations where they are more exposed to the risks and abuses that go so far as to make them slaves. God does not discriminate: “The Lord protects the stranger, he supports the widow and the orphan.”

For reflection

To welcome and to protect is a part of the life that Mary lived with Jesus by offering a mother’s love.

“Globalization is good, especially if it is globalization with a human face, guided by solidarity. And migrants remind us of this globalisation of solidarity!” (Anselm Mahwera, a missionary priest from Africa, founder of Gao’s Migrant House)

  • Have I ever had an experience of being welcomed? Or have I ever had the experience of being protected by someone?
  • What feeling(s) or reaction(s) did I have?

Prayer

Lord, you call us to take the path of meeting, open to others of another country, of another culture. Help us get started, together.

Impress us with your Word so that we can give substance to your Gospel:

– By welcoming each other, in trust, because each one carries a message from you. This meeting will make us grow in humanity.

– By protecting those in need, especially the weakest. Their flesh is your flesh!

– By promoting the life of each person and living together based on goodwill and mutual recognition, in the soil of respect, brotherhood, justice, peace.

– By living in a reconciled diversity that allows everyone to integrate, to be able to appreciate the beauty of this country where we live, ready to take care of it and bring the wealth it carries in it.

It’s not always an easy path; it demands choices, overcoming. But it is a way of life and hope that leads to your Kingdom. She invites us to walk as brothers and sisters, with you at our side.

AMEN

(International Migrants Day 2018)

For deeper consideration

Here we are a few days away from Christmas. Let us take the time to live encountering others.

Advent, Peace Spirituality

Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent, 16 December 2018

from Pax Christi France

Pax Christi France has put together a series of prayers and reflections for the weeks of Advent. Each Saturday, we’ll post those reflections on the blog for the upcoming Sunday. You can download the entire resource at this link in French. 

Third Sunday of Advent, 16 December 2018

See in the immigrant, your brother, your sister!

Readings: Zeph 3:14-18a | Ps 12:2, 4-6 | Phil 4:4-7 | Lk 3:10-18

Extract from the letter of Pope Francis

Finally, “integrating” means enabling refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, in a dynamic of mutual enrichment and fruitful collaboration in promoting the integral human development of local communities. As St. Paul writes: “Therefore, you are no longer strangers or people passing through, you are fellow-citizens of saints, you are members of the family of God” (Eph 2:19).

For reflection

  • The reception of migrants is not unanimous in public opinion. It sometimes gives rise to difficult tensions. Faced with the immensity of the task, discouragement is high. Gestures of solidarity do not necessarily appear in everything but they are lived daily in the simplicity and with discretion, in perseverance and fidelity.
  • Many of us have foreign-sounding names and it is this diversity combined with our commitment to common values that makes a country so rich. Recalling the immigrants in our history whom we admire and venerate, are we ready today to accept and integrate new immigrant sisters and brothers?

Prayer

Make peace across all nations. In your cities, in your families, your houses, let us dream of a more beautiful land!

And let us build a more communal world. In our neighbourhoods, our cities, it’s the same refrain: it’s not easy to reach out, to take the time to listen to each other, to discover each other, to dare to meet, while respecting each other. Despite our disagreements and oppositions, let’s dare to live together, in the same place.

Lord show us the way and open our eyes to the stranger who knocks on our door!

AMEN

For deeper consideration

“I was a stranger, and you welcomed me” (Matt 25)

  • I have time and I want to help an immigrant in learning to read and in our culture.
  • I wish to accompany a distressed minor immigrant for a meal, cultural visits, games.
  • I have a place and I want to make it available to an immigrant.
  • I want to invest in the daily accompaniment of an immigrant family.
Advent, Peace Spirituality

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent, 9 December 2018

from Pax Christi France

Pax Christi France has put together a series of prayers and reflections for the weeks of Advent. Each Saturday, we’ll post those reflections on the blog for the upcoming Sunday. You can download the entire resource at this link in French. 

Second Sunday of Advent, 9 December 2018

A voice cries in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:1)

Readings: Bar 5:1-9 | Ps 125:1-6 | Phil 1:4-6, 8-11 | Lk 3:1-6

Extract from the letter of Pope Francis

“The wisdom of faith feeds this contemplative gaze that recognises that we all belong to one family, migrants and the local population who welcome them, and all have the same right to benefit from the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are based. These words send us back to the image of the new Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah and the Apocalypse describe it as a city whose doors are always open, in order to let in people of all nations. Peace is the ruler who guides it and justice the principle that governs the coexistence of all within it.

“It also brings us to a contemplative look at the city where we live, that is to say, a look of faith that discovers this God who lives in these houses, in these streets, in these squares, by promoting solidarity, community, desire for good, truth, justice …”

For reflection

  • What is the new Jerusalem for me?
  • We all belong to one family. How can I open my family and my house to welcome others?
  • What do the words ‘solidarity’ and ‘sharing’ mean to me? Let’s prepare the way of the Lord.
  • Do we know how to contemplate the work of God in the city, the neighbourhood where we live?

Prayer

God, Parent of all, all cultures and all origins,
Look at our world separated by borders, torn by wars,
Disfigured by hunger and injustice, divided by our fears and prejudices.
So many migrants roam in search of a better future.
In Jesus Christ, you have come to reveal humanity, you have sown friendship and trust in our hearts.
You showed us the way of sharing and meeting,
You opened our eyes to recognise our brothers and sisters.
Fill us with your Spirit so that we live like your children,
United in the diversity of our cultures.
May your Kingdom come, reign of peace, justice and community
For all the peoples of the earth.
AMEN

(www.incarnation.org)

For deeper consideration

  • Let us be aware of what is happening in our city and in our neighbourhood regarding the reception of refugees. Let us be open and listen to their lives and their difficulties.
  • Let us create or participate in a prayer group for peace and community among peoples.
  • Let us open our homes to welcome a young person or a family on the day or the evening of Christmas, with simplicity, sharing and generosity.
Advent, Peace Spirituality

Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018

from Pax Christi France

Pax Christi France has put together a series of prayers and reflections for the weeks of Advent. Each Saturday, we’ll post those reflections on the blog for the upcoming Sunday. You can download the entire resource at this link in French. 

First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25: 35-36)

Readings: Jer 33:14-16 | Ps 24:4-5, 8-10, 14 | 1 Thes 3:12-4:2 | Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Extract from the letter of Pope Francis

Since the angels’ announcement of peace at Bethlehem, St. John Paul II interpreted the growing number of refugees as one of the consequences of an endless and horrific succession of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansing that marked the 20th century. The new century has not yet reached a turning point: armed conflicts and other forms of organised violence continue to cause displacement of populations within and beyond national borders.

But people also migrate for other reasons, above all by a “desire for a better life, trying very often to leave behind the desperation of an impossible future to build anew.”

For reflection

  • Because we are created “in the image of God”, each person should be deeply respected. Am I attentive to this inner reality?
  • When Jesus sends his disciples on a mission, he asks them to enter the houses where his peace is welcomed and lived. Where are we in our own homes? Are we careful to cultivate this peace between us?

Prayer

Lord, disarm me, disarm us, disarm them!

Lord, disarm them of their kalashnikovs, their bombs, their belts, their hatred, their thirst for vengeance, their bitterness and their ignorance.

Lord, disarm us of our will to power, of our feeling of superiority, of our need to dominate, to be always right, to want to bring everything back to ourselves, to our achievements, to our knowledge, to our history.

Lord, disarm me of my pride, my excuses, contempt, anger, resentment, hypocrisy, envy, my self-assurance, my sufficiency, my arrogance. Help me to strip myself little by little because when I’m weak, then I’m strong. To reach Easter, I must accept being unarmed, naked with Christ on the cross.

AMEN

(Father Christian de Chergé)

For deeper consideration

“May the Lord give you an ever more intense and overflowing love between you and all people.”

  • How do we manifest this love towards our migrant brothers?

“Stay awake and pray at all times.”

  • In this time of Advent, are we ready to stand before the Son of Man?