His Beatitude contributed to this prayer the following words:
1. In prayer, we celebrate this evening, the United Nations World Peace Day. We remember the United Nations as institution. We remember its ideals, its aims: to make peace among nations. Therefore we pray. Because peacemaking is a mission which is beyond human capacities. God himself is the peace, therefore we were told by the Apostle that Jesus is our peace and our reconciliation. We pray, may God look upon our humility, our incapacity, upon so many weaknesses in the nations and in their leaders going to war; we pray may He look upon all of us, may He fill us with His presence, and teach us how to make peace, so that all nations become the “disciples of God’, as says Prophet Isaiah: “All your children will be taught by God... In saving justice you will be made firm, free from oppression: you will have nothing to fear” (Is 54: 13-14).
We remember in our prayer, with gratitude to God and to men and women He has inspired and taught, all the noble achievements of this Institution during more than fifty years now of its existence. We remember all the conflicts in which it was involved with success or failure. We remember all those, within the United Nations, who died while bearing their mission of peace, all over the world, but especially here in our land, and recently in Iraq.
2. The three readings of the Holy Scripture, which are the Word of God for our meditation and attention in this celebration, give us the spiritual vision that leads us in a true search of peace.
With Jesus, in the Gospel of St Luke (4:16-21), we contemplate the vision of a healed world. So is the aim of the United Nations, a healed world: no more conflicts, no more victims, no more oppressed, no more prisoners. Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me. He has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord”.
The second reading from the first letter of Saint Peter (1Pt 1:3-7), reminds us of the foundation of our faith and hope as we go through trials, and that despite all our hard situation, we can find peace and security in the compassion and the Might of God, in the Resurrection of Jesus Lord and God, and in the vision of the goods to come in the heavenly Jerusalem. And in all that, we have, amidst our trials, a powerful source of joy. Saint Peter says: “In His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into a heritage that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away”.
The first reading from Isaiah (52: 7-10) gives us the joyful image of those who announce peace, bearing their mission to all who want a true and sincere peace: “How beautiful on the mountains, are the feet of the messenger announcing peace, of the messenger of good news who proclaim salvation”.
We know there was and there is still a crisis in the existence of the United Nations and in its capacity to remain free and faithful to its mission of peace. The war of Iraq was and still is the source of this crisis. It is the temptation of the powerful and the strong of this world to become a threat to the peace of the world, and to justify their threats and even their oppression by the pretension to make peoples free, enjoying democracy, and human rights. They defend human rights, and to achieve this goal, they violate human rights.
Among these men and women of peace, of the United Nations, many have died in the place where they accepted to be sent to help making peace. They were sent not to make war, as other soldiers in any national conflict, but to stop war and make peace. They are the true martyrs of peace.
Indeed the first aim of the United Nations is to teach Nations to make peace, is to teach the strong of this world, always tempted by their power to dominate and to oppress and to justify their appetite of domination with so many reasons as freeing the poor, putting end to dictatorship etc… Peoples are to be educated to peace, but each according to his own culture, to the inner requirements of his own cultural. Democracy cannot be a uniform and universal copy distributed by any power in this world to all the nations and the peoples of the world. Moreover, the strong cannot impose or teach democracy while violating human rights and the rights of the peoples.
God must have His place in all human international structures, in their effort to make peace. Human perfection consists in seeing God and imitating Him”, as said Jesus: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Not in his isolation, in his own human dimension and desires, can any human being be perfect, and less a peace maker: “You must therefore set no bounds to your love, just as your heavenly Father sets none to his”(Mt 5: 48).
We need peacemakers in our country, we need the beautiful sight of “the messenger announcing peace, of the messenger of good news who proclaim salvation”. “If you want peace prepare war”, said the old Latin adage. We need peace, new men and women with a new vision of peace, based on the respect of human dignity in oneself and in the others, able to transform the cries of the poor in real freedom and equality. And so they will be able to reach the real and definitive peace. Instead of the old proverb, we say: If you want peace, listen to the cries of the poor, put an end to the oppression of your neighbour. So you will be messenger of peace and you will enjoy peace, you will fill the hearts of your people with the joy of peace and security.
This evening we pray. Before God, we put all the world’s thirst for peace; all the failures of all in making peace. We ask Him to heal our hearts and minds, to heal our sense of freedom and love to the other, similar to us or different. Jesus said: “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord”. Amen.