Let’s develop a culture of peace
THE RECENT bombing in the heart of Davao City brings us to a painful and sad reality of our time: Violence begetting more violence. Someone has to say, “Stop!” Otherwise the killing will go on and on.
Jesus Christ did that—by dying on the cross, suffering the greatest violence of his time, not only physically but in all its forms.
That was more than 2,000 years ago and, yet, each time there is violence anywhere in the world, in any form, we retrogress not just a few generations back, but often all the way to the primitive era of the caveman. We use human intelligence and talents to inflict new forms of atrocity, new ways of torture and killing.
It is not enough to pray for peace, or to denounce injustices like extrajudicial killings. We also need to act, to perform concrete, effective deeds for the cause of peace, and we, Christians, who constitute the majority in this country, should be at the forefront of this undertaking, as our first missionaries were when they built hospitals and schools, and embarked on livelihood projects and other development initiatives.
We must open doors to dialogue and discover the real causes of conflict and resolve them in a nonviolent manner. We need to develop a culture of peace and to find solutions to conflicts of any kind without using weapons of death and resorting to the law of the jungle.
Let’s start with ourselves and with the young—within our homes and our families, in schools, churches and institutions, altogether setting aside cultural, religious, political and ideological prejudices or differences. But this demands a conversion—the harboring of nonviolent and peaceful thoughts and desires; and being kind, in our words and actions, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. We must offer help to those in need, and to the less fortunate.
It is not coincidence that Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta in this Jubilee Year of Mercy; it is inspiration from the Father and Lord of Mercy and Jesus Christ, the “Misericordiae Vultus,” (the Face of Mercy, that is God). Mother Teresa’s example of absolute compassion to everyone—with no consideration as to identities, origins, cultural, political or religious backgrounds, or any of the categories we use to discriminate against others or to distance them from ourselves—is exactly what we need not just today because of the Davao bombing and similar threats, but always.
—ANTONIO MARIA ROSALES, OFM, [email protected]
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