Peace is a priceless gift given to us as disciples of Jesus Christ.  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14: 27), Jesus says.  It is, therefore, important that we accept this gift personally and then be ready to spread it everywhere.  Each of us is called to be a peace-maker!  To further underscore its importance, Psalm 34:14 urges people to "seek peace, and pursue it".  It is not enough to say “I’m not hurting anybody”, rather to vigorously work to bring about peace, starting from within the self, then outward with other people and worldwide by working for justice.  This is what Pope Paul VI meant by saying: “If you want peace, work for justice”.  It is also the vision of the prophet Isaiah in the passage (Isaiah Wall) described below, which the UN adopted.  It is a vision that has no ideological boundaries.  Peace is a concept shared across many faiths.  It is, indeed, not merely the absence of war…but working for justice and the development of peoples.

Isaiah Wall & UN Vision:

This is a biblical inscription engraved in the United Nations building in New York and its significance.  The passage in question is a reference from Isaiah 2:4, which summarises the vision of the UN for the nations of the world.  The passage reads:

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

An exegetical rendering of this passage reveals different instruments of opposing activities – agriculture (ploughshares, pruning hooks) and warfare (swords, spears).  The instruments of warfare would be remoulded into those of agriculture.  This reversal of function makes it possible for what would have been used to destroy a population to become now the means of feeding them.

Universal symbols inspired by the Scriptures:

  • Dove – symbol of Peace (Genesis 8:10-12)
  • Coiled snake – medical profession (Numbers 21:8-9; John 3:14-15)
  • Jubilee – every 50 years (Leviticus 25:8-17): time for debt cancellation, freedom to slaves and expiry of land leases.

The Fruit of War – Pope Francis

This picture was taking by an American marine photographer Joseph Roger O’Donnell in 1945 after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. This boy (about 10 years), strapped his dead brother on his back whilst waiting at the crematorium on a queue. “The young boy’s sadness is expressed only in his gesture of biting his lips which are oozing blood”.

Bible Sayings about Peace

  • “Seek Peace and pursue it” (1 Peter, 3:11)
  • “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew, 5:9). 
  •  “Be united; live in Peace and the God of Peace will be with you”, (2 Cor., 13:11)
  • “Peace be with you”, (Psalm, 122: 8; 3 John, 14)
  • “Peace I leave you, my Peace I give you”, (John 14:27)
  • “Peacemakers, when they work for Peace, sow the seeds which  will bear fruit in holiness” (James, 3:18)
  • Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)

Other Sayings about Peace

  • “If you want Peace work for Justice”, - Pope Paul VI
  • “If you want to cultivate Peace, protect creation”, - Pope Benedict XVI
  • “The new evangelization calls on every baptized person to be a Peacemaker”, - Pope Francis
  • “Peace is not merely the absence of War…”, - Albert Einstein
  • “It isn’t enough to talk about Peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work for it”  - Eleanor Roosevelt

A Prayer (St. Francis of Assisi)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life, Amen.

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