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Father Muench Says...

New Year’s resolution: be a peacemaker

Jan. 8, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I was asked recently, what I was reading these days.  It didn’t take me long to answer – it seems like every day Pope Francis gives me something to read: a homily he gave that very day, an interview that he made with some reporter or journalist or something he has written or something that is written about him.  He never fails to catch my attention.

Today, I would like to share with you a little of his Christmas message – this is the “Urbi et Orbi” message that each Pope makes each year on Christmas Day.

This year’s message by Pope Francis fits into an important New Year’s theme of peace – peace in the world – peace for all people. 

In this Christmas message Pope Francis makes a strong and challenging call for peace in our world.  He begins by speaking of the Birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace, and then asks us to pray for peace.

New Years is that time for resolutions – this year there should be a resolution from all of us to make our lives more peaceful in the spirit of our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

In his Christmas message, Pope Francis begins by saying this, “Peace calls fur daily commitment, starting from God’s gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.”  By making Jesus our guide and our friend, we begin to bring peace to our part of the world.

Pope Francis prays in his Christmas message for those who suffer most: “Looking at the Child in the manger, the Child of peace, our thoughts turn to those children who are most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick…Wars shatter and hurt so many lives.”

Pope Francis calls attention to the sad conflicts in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – he made it clear he knows of the many conflicts happening in our world.

Pope Francis’ prayers for peace are passionate, “You, Prince of Peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue. So what am I supposed to do? 

Pope Francis urges us to pray for peace in the world and I will.  Pope Francis asks me to stand up for peace, to speak out that my country may be a force for peace in this world and I will.

Yet, what must I do myself to make this world a more peaceful place? I must make this New Year a more peaceful time. I must do what I can to make the world a better place by making my own life a life that spreads peace, by living in the spirit of the Prince of Peace.

When I bring happiness to another I have made the world more peaceful.

Each time, I help the poor or the needy personally; I have made the world better and more peaceful.

Pope Francis adds this prayer to his Christmas talk, “God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever!  God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world.  Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”

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