Peace among All Peoples. That all peoples may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect.
During Advent as we prepare for Christ-mas, we also pray for the coming of God‟s Kingdom. We commit ourselves to prepare the world to receive its Savior, not only in the present, but at the end of time. Only when the world receives Christ and his Kingdom is fully established will there be true peace in the world.
In the meantime, we live in a kind of “armed stand-off” of powers. In 1986 Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote that devo-tion to the Heart of Jesus is the key to over-coming violence in our world. He said that through this devotion, “on the ruins accu-mulated through hatred and violence, can be built the civilization of love so greatly desired, the kingdom of the Heart of Christ.”
This month of Advent and Christmas we pray with Pope Benedict that all people may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect. Peace will come only when all people recognize the God-given rights of each person. Only through genuine dialogue will we grow in mutual understanding that leads to harmony and peace.
In a Christmas message, Pope Benedict said: “God is not distant: he is „Emmanuel,‟ God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus…. „Emmanuel‟ has come as King of justice and peace.”
May the Heart of Christ reign over every human heart so that the daily prayer which Jesus taught his disciples and us may be fulfilled: “Thy Kingdom come!” Then we shall have peace.
How can you promote mutual understanding and respect among the people in your community who are in conflict?
Ephesians 2: 14-17 He is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh.
Children and Youth. That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that they may be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.
A few years ago at Christmas Midnight Mass, Pope Benedict said: “In every child we see something of the Child of Bethlehem.” Unfor-tunately, many in the world do not see Christ in every child; they do not see human dignity in those to whom the Christ Child joined himself.
The Holy Father went on to pray specifically for “children who are denied the love of their parents,” for “street children who do not have the blessing of a family home,” for “children who are brutally exploited as soldiers,” and for “children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse.”
Pope Benedict called for the safety of every child saying: “Only through the conversion of hearts, only through a change in the depths of our hearts can the cause of all this evil be overcome.”
So we join the Holy Father this month in praying for conversion. We pray that all children and young people may be respected and pre-served.
Part of our respect for children is the recognition of the essential role they play in spreading the Gospel. Jesus blessed children and pointed to them as an example of how to receive the Kingdom of God.
When Pope Benedict met with children who are part of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Child-hood, a missionary group, they asked him: “How can we children help you to proclaim the Gospel?” He he told them to pray, listen to Jesus, share with others, and help people who are “disagreeable.” He continued: “Sharing, …prayer, reciprocal listening, and solidarity [are] missionary work because [they help] to make the Gospel a reality in our world.”
How can the children and young people of my community become more involved in parish life and evangelization?
Matthew 18: 1-5 Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
Prayer of the Month
Lord Jesus, Emmanuel, in your Heart we find the eternal love that urged you to descend into human misery to redeem us from sin, the cause of injustice and conflict. For thousands of years humanity was far from God in the shadows of death. You crossed over the wide abyss of sin which separated us from our Creator. On the cross you have reconciled us with God and one another. Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us. Amen