World Day of Peace 2019

The Wishing Tree, Marie Selby Gardens, Sarasota, Florida (2018)

Today, the Church celebrates Mary, the Mother of God. The first reading from the Book of Numbers is such an appropriate blessing for New Year’s Day. It is my wish for each one of you.

The Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you,

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

Fernando Ortega has set this blessing to music in his song, Aaron’s Blessing. I invite you to google this title and composer to hear his rendition of this beautiful blessing. In his version, Ortega sings verse 26 as “May He keep you in perfect peace.” Perfect peace. Hm . . .

Today is also World Day of Peace. In a meditation, Genevieve Glen, OSB puts Aaron’s blessing in the mouth of Mary. She suggests that what Mary, Queen of Peace, asks for us on this World Day of Peace is a gift that requires our own unremitting work. Mary’s prayer is that we receive the light to see truly what we are called to do to work for peace in our own corner of the world. I am reminded of the words of Pope Paul VI “If you want peace, work for justice.” (1972)

The theme of Pope Francis for World Peace Day 2019 is titled, Good Politics at the Service of Peace. In his message, he tells us, “Political responsibility belongs to every citizen and, in particular, to those that have received the mandate to protect and to govern.” He reminds us that the Gospel calls us to raise our voices for the common good, for politics is one of the highest forms of charity. Advocating for and with communities who are oppressed, disadvantaged, or excluded is a response to our baptismal call to love all members of the God of Christ, in imitation of Christ’s love.

Selby18WishingTree2 - Version 2

If you are like me, this message to advocate for others is a real challenge. I have added a new resolution to my (short) list of resolutions for 2019: to have the courage speak out boldly on issues that touch my heart. What are those issues? In 2019, I want to focus on ending hunger; assisting refugees and homeless individuals and families; and, caring for creation.

Q. Have you made resolutions for 2019?

Q. Are any of those resolutions related to working for peace and justice?

Wishing you peace in the new year!

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