2021-09-21 GENERAL HOUSE

September 21: The International Day of Peace

Wars have painful and long-lasting effects on communities, families, and the social and economic fabric of nations. As they continue to make news, World Peace Day remains a welcome reminder of what nations can create together if they collaborate in addressing the world’s problems. Every year on September 21, the United Nations (UN) calls on all nations and people to put down their weapons and reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony with one another. Organizations and educational institutions are invited to take the lead in creating a peace wave around the world with the message of love.

Experts on world peace believe that to tackle the world’s major issues, the first challenge is to bring peace. According to them, unless the world is peaceful, there can never be the trust and cooperation needed to combat other world problems such as climate change, diseases, and pandemics. So, they call for peace by ensuring human rights and fighting poverty and under-development. They believe that we can achieve peace in the world if we start by stamping out exclusion, bringing about true equality between women and men, sharing the world’s wealth fairly and controlling arms sales. They believe that world peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is not something that we just think about and then it happens. Rather, it is the battle of our lives which can be won because the solutions are in our hands. Peace is cultivated and promoted by seeking common ground and valuing our differences as well as promoting economic and social stability to eliminate poverty, food insecurity, and social injustice and thus remove common causes of unrest and violence.

Peace, as we ordinarily understand that word, is hard-work-in-progress; be it the resolution of conflict between nations or ethnic groups, or an inward psychological disposition. Social peace only maintains a superficial and fragile harmony if there is no commitment to inner peace, the kind that changes lives from the inside out. Countless civil disobedience movements have demonstrated the power of non-violent action when it is steeped in spiritual intention and grounded in a peace that no oppressor can give or take away. ‘Peace which the world cannot give’ (John 14:27), is the peace of Jesus, a living, inner presence that we are called as his followers to seek.

As Christians, our commitment to justice and peace is an integral part of the demands of the Gospel. The more our actions are deeply rooted in Jesus, the more effective they will be. Pope Paul VI instituted World Days of Peace to be observed on the first day of the civil year as intense moments of prayer for peace. Papal Messages on such Days represent a rich source for the renewal and development of the Church’s social doctrine. In their respective messages on the World Days of Peace, all Popes since Paul VI have insisted that it is through prayer that the Church engages in the battle for peace because prayer opens the heart not only to a deep relationship with God but also to an encounter with others marked by respect, understanding, esteem and love and instils courage and lends support to all true friends of peace.


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