Father Peter Clarke

From the Diocese of Bridgetown

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD AND WORLD DAY OF PEACE 2017: A Reflection by Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P.

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD AND
WORLD DAY OF PEACE 2017: A Reflection by Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P.

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD

WORLD DAY OF PEACE 2017

"They will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks."Surely Micah's Messianic prophesy is very far from being fulfilled, (4.30)!

Indeed, lethal weapons are more accessible than ever before in the whole history of mankind. Who can blame those who see ours as THE AGE OF HEROD, with his blood-lust for killing even innocent babies? Does anyone have right to describe ours as being, 'THE AGE OF JESUS CHRIST,' the Prince of Peace, with his mother Mary being given the title, 'Queen of Peace?'Christians only have Faith Answers to such searching questions.

We believe that the Son of God entered this history by becoming a member of the human family. This He did to save mankind from its sinful self. In its yearly Christmas-tide liturgythe Church celebrates a Salvation History that covered several thousand years.In so doing the Son of God was born into the exclusive, covenanted, Chosen People of God.Acceptance into this privileged community was effected by the circumcision of this boy eight days after His birth. It was then that He received his name, 'Jesus.'

The Octave Day of Christmas used to be celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ. For Jesus this was the first time His blood was shed - a sure sign that the Son of God was fully human and a member of God's Chosen People.He shed the last drop of blood when He was nailed to the cross for the redemption of the whole of mankind.

Matthew tells us that Mary's child was to be called 'Jesus' - 'because He is the one to save His people from their sins,' (Mtt.1.21). However, His remit was much wider than that. It would be all-inclusive. To underline this point Pope Paul V1 declared that on the 1st January the whole Church throughout the world should celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of the Saviour of Mankind. From the moment of His being conceived this infant was the Saviour of the World. Through His death and resurrection Jesus saved the world.

. A little over fifty years ago Pope Paul V1, being aware of the global ever-increasing violence assigned the commencement of a New Year to be also kept as a World Day of Peace, thereby placing Jesus and His Mother Mary at the very heart of this longing for genuine, lastingpeace and of the achievement of this peace.

Pope Francis has chosen 'NON-VIOLENCE: A STYLE OF POLITICS FOR PEACE' as the theme ofhis message for this year's World Day of Peace.

He states that in "A BROKEN WORLD TODAY, sadly, we find ourselves engaged in a horrifying world war fought piece-meal -terrorism, organized crime and unforeseen acts of violence; the abuses suffered by migrants and victims of human trafficking; and the devastation of the environment."

The root-cause of this is that people lack self-respect and respect for the dignity of every other human being.Such contempt legitimizes and releases violence of every imaginable kind. Pope Francis assures us that respecting "the image and likeness of God in each person will enable us to acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity." He continues, 'Jesus taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for "it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come" (Mk 7:21).

The Pope follows up this sentiment and makes it the core of his message for this year's World Day of Peace. "IF VIOLENCE HAS ITS SOURCE IN THE HUMAN HEART, THEN IT IS FUNDAMENTAL THAT NON-VIOLENCE BE PRACTISED BEFORE ALL ELSE WITHIN FAMILIES."Before they are hardened by the 'outside world' children from a very early age must learn from the example and instruction of their elders how to live in harmony with other people.

Pope Francis insists that, "THE POLITICS OF NON-VIOLENCE HAVE TO BEGIN IN THE HOME AND THEN SPREAD TO THE ENTIRE HUMAN FAMILY."

At the beginning of the year we should resolve to turn our pain-inflicting swords into life-giving agricultural tools that preserve and enrich the lives of us all.

'Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.'

Peter Clarke, O.P.

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Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P. (Ret)
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