I don’t know about you, but I spent these past few days glued to the news on TV. As many of us in the nation watched images of incidents of violence and displays of profound emotions, we cannot help but wonder, “What can we do? How do we keep hope alive in the midst of so much darkness? How can we believe that we can move toward peace in the face of such violence and division?” Obtaining peace requires us to first turn to God, ask His grace to transform our minds and hearts, and work to overcome our indifference.
In the beginning of this year, on the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis delivered a prophetic message to all of us. He proclaimed, “God is not indifferent! God cares about mankind! God does not abandon us!” Pope then challenged all of us to look at our own selves if there were attitudes of indifference. He said, "Some people prefer not to ask questions or seek answers; they lead lives of comfort, deaf to the cry of those who suffer. Almost imperceptibly, we grow incapable of feeling compassion for others and for their problems; we have no interest in caring for them, as if their troubles were their own responsibility, and none of our business." Many believe the enemy of peace is war, but Pope Francis said that "indifference makes one think only of oneself and creates barriers, suspicions, fears and closure." He then asked people to open their hearts to those who are in need, as "This is the way to win peace." He explained peace must be "cultivated" and "won." To do so, one must go through a "spiritual struggle that starts within our hearts."
In the gestures and actions of the Good Samaritan, we recognize God’s merciful action and compassion. God himself is the model of the Good Samaritan. Through this parable, we come to understand that God does not ignore us, He knows our sorrows; He knows how much we need help and consolation; He comes close to us and never abandons us. Each of us should ask ourselves, “Do I believe that the Lord has compassion for me just as I am, a sinner with so many weakness and problems?” If we firmly believe in God’s compassion for us, then we must heed Jesus’ command, “Go and do likewise.” And by imitating his love and compassion, we show ourselves to be his followers. It is not easy to be followers of Jesus. His command for us to love God and neighbor entails caring for others even to the point of personal sacrifice. We cannot standby as onlookers when we see so many people worn out by hunger, violence, and injustice,
Today in solidarity with the communities of Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas, we pray for the eternal rest of those killed, for the consolation of their families and friends; and, at the same time, for peace. We ask God for the courage to actively work for peace in our country. We must ask ourselves, “How do I contribute to peace in this world? How to I contribute to violence and racism? How must I be changed?” As Dorothy Day said, "The greatest challenge is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.” We earnestly pray as St. Francis of Assisi did, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”