Engaging Faith | Tue, Dec 23, 2008
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 1, 2009
January 1: New Year's Day; Solemnity of Mary; World Day of Prayer for Peace
January is Poverty in America Awareness Month http://www.povertyusa.com/
January 6: The Epiphany of the Lord
January 4-10: National Migration Week: "Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice" http://www.usccb.org/mrs/nmw.shtml
Peace remains possible. And if peace is possible, it is also a duty!
John Paul II, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 2004
The truth of the axiom cannot be refuted: "to fight poverty is to build peace."
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2009
I invite every man and woman to have a more lively sense of belonging to the one human family, and to strive to make human coexistence increasingly reflect this conviction, which is essential for the establishment of true and lasting peace. I likewise invite believers to implore tirelessly from God the great gift of peace.
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2008
May Mary show us, in her Son, the Way of peace, and enlighten our vision, so that we can recognize Christ's face in the face of every human person, the heart of peace!
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2007
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
ring out the narrowing lust of gold,
ring out the thousand wars of old,
ring in the thousand years of peace.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson
Thoughts for your consideration
The blessing given in Numbers is something that is meant to be shared with the whole human community. It is a hopeful blessing for the whole world. It must be all inclusive if it is to have its full power. Can we make this blessing real in the world?
The birth of a child is a sign of hope - hope not just for the parents and immediate family, but also for the whole community. The life of Mary of Nazareth is a sign of hope - not just because her faith made her holy, but also because it says something to us all. Can we bring that hope into our world by our commitment to justice?
The Solemnity of Mary is a sign of hope to the world. It is a sign that we can give birth to a new vision - the vision of Jesus in the world - a vision of Justice and Peace - a vision of freedom and liberation from oppression - a vision of social change and concern for the common good - a vision of a world without racism and prejudice - a vision of a new economy focused on people and a responsible use of the earth's resources - a vision of a world that respects ethnic and racial diversity - a vision of a world that can move beyond war and terrorism -- a vision of God present in the poor child and the holy young woman of Nazareth - a vision of God to be found in all the people and things of our world and especially among the poor.
In the gospel the shepherds come to see the child in the lying in the manger. This child is a concrete image of the peace to which God calls us - a peace that contrasts with all the images of power, weaponry, and violence that prevail in our world.
Pope Benedict's Message for the World Day for Peace 2009, "FIGHTING POVERTY TO BUILD PEACE," quotes John Paul II who wrote in 1993: "The gap between rich and poor has become more marked, even in the most economically developed nations. This is a problem which the conscience of humanity cannot ignore, since the conditions in which a great number of people are living are an insult to their innate dignity and as a result are a threat to the authentic and harmonious progress of the world community" Benedict goes on to write: "...we all share in a single divine plan: we are called to form one family in which all - individuals, peoples and nations - model their behavior according to the principles of fraternity and responsibility." He reminds us that only if we address poverty, will we be able to have peace.
The Holy Father reminds us that
- §".... almost half of those living in absolute poverty today are children."
- §"The current level of world military expenditure gives cause for concern. .... immense military expenditure, involving material and human resources and arms, is in fact diverted from development projects for peoples, especially the poorest who are most in need of aid."
- §"All the indicators of relative poverty in recent years point to an increased disparity between rich and poor."
- §"Effective means to redress the marginalization of the world's poor through globalization will only be found if people everywhere feel personally outraged by the injustices in the world and by the concomitant violations of human rights."
- §"The recent crisis demonstrates how financial activity can at times be completely turned in on itself, lacking any long-term consideration of the common good."
- §"If the poor are to be given priority, then there has to be enough room for an ethical approach to economics on the part of those active in the international market, an ethical approach to politics on the part of those in public office, and an ethical approach to participation capable of harnessing the contributions of civil society at local and international levels."
- §"The truth of the axiom cannot be refuted: ‘to fight poverty is to build peace.'"
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What is your hope or your vision for public life in the new year?
What is your biggest hope as we work together for peace and justice?
Actions - Links
Fighting Poverty to Build Peace Go to http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20081208_xlii-world-day-peace_en.html to read the message of John Paul II for the World Day of Peace for 1 January 2009.
National Migration Week (January 4 to 10, 2009) is celebrated annually to focus on the needs of migrants and refugees. The theme this year is"Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice." For more info, go to the site of the NCCB/USCC Office for Migration and Refugee Services: http://www.usccb.org/mrs/nmw.shtml
Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month. Does your state or region make one of the top ten lists? See http://www.povertyusa.org/ or http://www.usccb.org/cchd/povertyusa/povamer.shtml
The US Census Bureau reports that "In 2007, the family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 9.8 percent and 7.6 million." http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/012528.html
The US Department of Defense reports that the 2009 budget provides for "$515.4 billion for the Department of Defense's (DOD's) base budget-a nearly 74-percent increase over 2001" plus "$70.0 billion as an emergency allowance to support activities related to the GlobalWar on Terror into 2009." http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy09/pdf/budget/defense.pdf
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, in this new year, lead us on the way of peace.
That we may work together for an end to poverty, we pray.....
That we spend our resources on human needs rather than on preparation for war, we pray...
For an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we pray...
That effective dialogue replaces the fighting and barriers between Israelis and Palestinians, we pray....
That there may be an end to all the fratricidal conflicts in Darfur and throughout Africa, we pray....
That nations find a way to do away with nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction, we pray....
That there be an end to all violence in our nation, especially gang violence in our cities, we pray....
That there may be an end to all domestic violence in our homes, we pray....
For an end to children growing up in poverty, we pray....
"O God, all holy one, you are our Mother and our Father and we are your children. Open our eyes and our hearts so that we may be able to discern your work in the universe. And be able to see Your features in every one of Your children. May we learn that there are many paths but all lead to You. Help us to know that you have created us for family, for togetherness, for peace, for gentleness, for compassion, for caring, for sharing."
"May we know that You want us to care for one another as those who know that they are sisters and brothers, members of the same family, Your family, the human family. Help us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, so that we may be able to live in peace and harmony, wiping away the tears from the eyes of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And may we know war no more, as we strive to be what You want us to be: Your children. Amen."
Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa
Lord, our God,
let there be peace in the world,
no more wars,
no more fighting,
no more killing.
Teach us to trust one another so we can share
our problems as well as our joys.
Teach us to care about one another and to
understand each other.
Teach world leaders to respect all people,
especially their own.
Help us to make peace wherever we are and to do
our small bit to bring peace to the world.
We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen
posted on their web site by a 6th grade class in Australia at http://www.schools.ash.org.au/stkierans-manly/Classes/Yr6/6B/Prayer/peace.htm