Sunday, March 10, 2024

Non-Violence and Gospel of Peace Talk on March 12 @ UIW

Peace requires an interior work and at the same time, it has the incarnational part.  We cannot say to our brothers and sisters "Peace be with you" when I am holding a gun, a knife or if I am shouting at someone.   We have to know what we are advocating for and we have to be intentional about our calling.  Violence, and coercion do not invite peace but chaos, unsettling emotions, moral and physical injuries.  There is no peace without an interior work.  What it means is that peace cannot happen without the encounter with the self, God, or other person.  We can pray for peace, but without people taking concrete actions on making peace be possible, we can have voices or speeches that do not demonstrate what we are advocating for.

When we reach out to others and we get to know how different and how similar we are.  We may discover different culture, language, education, status and yet we find joy in our commonality and we can also find excitement about something new.  We do not have to wipe someone's life away to be able to justify our own wants and our own desires.  We all have common needs to be able to live with dignity, to live with fulfilment, and to live with security knowing that we are safe.  

Matthew 5:3-10
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

As human being, we are born with intrinsic dignity (Evangelium Vitae EV, 55).  We are to uphold the right to life.  Everyone has a right to live with dignity without being harmed because of their race, geography, age, opinions, religion, faith traditions, or status in life.  As Christians, we are even more obliged to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and to be peace makers (Matthew 5:3-10).  Ever since the fall, there have been unresolved chaos or violence because of greed, envy, and hatred against another brother or sister.  We can look at Cain how he could not take his brother Abel being favored by God.  We can look at Israel and Palestinians in Gaza not being able to settle the differences and still fighting for centuries after centuries.

The Incarnate Word Sisters Sr. Martha and Sr. Marylou, on separate ocassions, accepted the invitation to have supper with Father Jim Schellenberg for his TV Talk Show Food for Thought.  All his guests are creating or participating in different ways to stand up against violence.  Father Jim dedicated these couple of episodes on topic of "Non-violence".  During the conversation in the Season 7 Episode 4, Dr. Hoyle commented that UIW's Lewis Center of the Americas programming, which includes events, forums, symposia and  collaborative research, communicate a message of non-violence, often times very directly as a central message. A prime example of such programming would be the Lewis Center's Leaders of the Americas Speaker Series, which most recently brought Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú to San Antonio, to speak with UIW students, faculty, administrators, and many friends and partners from the San Antonio community who wanted to hear the words of Dr. Menchú and her compelling message of peace.

Check out the Archdiocese Catholic San Antonio TV's Food for Thought Episodes 3 and 4 on Season 7 about Non-Violence:
If you would like to know more about Sr. Martha Ann's works for Justice and Peace, you can read her blog.  Sr. Martha Ann with Incarnate Word Sister Dorothy Ettling was arrested with Father John Dear in the first hour of 2000Glory brighter than the burning napalm | Global Sisters Report   She said, "We wanted our first steps to be steps of nonviolence, steps for a peaceful world. It is good to have Father speak at UIW the week before we host "Women Wage Peace," March 20, 12 noon to 1:15 pm. He speaks as a Christian.  These women are Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Avital Brown of Tel Aviv who will be online  with us tells of her brave sisters who have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  They issue the "Mother's Call" to stop the killing: Mothers’ Call - Women Wage Peace

Jesus Christ forgave the people who put him to death before he commended his life to our Father in heaven.  He forgave rather than retaliate (Romans 5:8).  While there is a part of our world that is at war, our world is not at peace.  While we have brothers and sisters who are starving, our world is not just.  While we have brothers and sisters who are being bombed and being killed by two opposing parties,  our world is not loved.

The Incarnate Word of God practiced a life of prophetic non-violence.  Dr. Martin Luther King practiced non-violence and so did Gandhi.  They were able to turn the page of their generation's story into becoming a history such as racial discrimination in society to be a thing of the past.  Though, admittedly, there is part of the racial injustices that are systemic and these takes time to completely get rid of something that the structure has been built into. We had been victims of oppressive mindset, behaviors, and practices.  

Unless we, intentionally, get rid of these oppressive systems and mindsets, we will behave the same generations after generations as if we have not learned what Jesus Christ was teaching us.  We have ears that do not hear, we have eyes that do not see (Mark 8:18).  This is an invitation to reflect our calling as true followers of Jesus Christ especially this Lent season .

* What are the things, behavior, (or unhealthy practices) that you can fast from to make way for peace?
* What are the things, behavior, (or healthy or healthier practices) that you can use or start exercising to build peace?
* What are you praying for so that our world would be at peace?

Join us in person or in zoom for a conversation with Father John Dear in the University of Incarnate Word.  He will talk about his experience in non-violence and his latest book: THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.

The gathering will be held on March 12, 2024,Tuesday, 7 pm, Student Engagement Center Ballroom, or on zoom. Books available for signing. Register for service credit for peacebuilding.  For those who are not able to join us in person, please register using the link below and then you will receive information. 

PAX Christi Contact: Arthur Dawes, Pax Christi UIW 
UIW Contact: Sister Martha Ann Kirk 210-883-5934.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Gospel of Peace by Fr. John Dear @ University of Incarnate Word on March 12, 2024


March 12, 2024,Tuesday, 7 pm, Student Engagement Center Ballroom, or on zoom. Books available for signing. Register for service credit for peacebuilding.

Author, teacher of nonviolence, and activist, Father John Dear offers here the first ever commentary on the Synoptic Gospels from the perspective of active nonviolence, in the tradition of Gandhi and Dr. King. He walks through every line of the three synoptic Gospels pointing out Jesus’ practice and teachings of nonviolence each step of the way.

Dear’s Jesus is like Gandhi and Dr. King―nonviolent to the core, a disarming, healing presence toward those in need and a revolutionary disrupter of the unjust status quo and a political threat to the ruling authorities who succeed in killing him, only to push Jesus to the heights of nonviolence through his death and resurrection.

This original commentary brings a fresh new approach to the Gospels that will help all those who engage in social ministries, and inspire everyone in this time of permanent warfare, gun violence, racism, poverty, and climate change. Faith calls us to a more humane and compassionate world. Learn more

Co-sponsored by Pax Christi Texas; Pax Christi San Antonio Incarnate Word Sisters Justice, Peace, Creation Office University of the Incarnate Word Social Justice and Peace Concentration, UIW Religious Studies Department

If you cannot come to UIW and would like to attend by zoom, register 

then you will receive information 

Contact: Arthur Dawes, Pax Christi UIW Contact: Sister Martha Ann Kirk 210-883-5934 John Dear is currently on a book tour to over 50 U.S. cities through the end of May

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Invitation to Pray the Stations of the Cross

Some of you may have devotions while some of you might ask, what the Stations of the Cross is.  This tradition can be traced from the contemplative life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux in 12th century and St Francis and St. Bonaventure of the Franciscans in the 13th century.   Although, the practice of pilgrims contemplating the way of the cross can be dated back in 2nd century and even in the early church in Jerusalem pondering on the painful journey of Jesus Christ towards his death in Mount Calvary.

What is the importance of the reflecting on something that is horrific and something that is painful?    Throughout the centuries, there had been a lot of things that happened to humankind that we as a humankind, would not have imagined doing again although some are still happening.  Reflecting on something horrific can make us angry about the event or even the people.  The good news about certain emotions is that it can move us into actions so that we want to stop things from ever happening again so that other people do not have to suffer the same fate.  

The greatest love of all had been given.  The greatest sacrifice of all had been offered.  The greatest mystery of life had been lived.  We asked ourselves what we have learned as a humankind so that suffering can be a history and that love is something that will persist in all cultures, traditions, and places?

We continue to reflect our own life and the lives of our brothers and sisters in the world during this Lenten season and why we are still commemorating this painful journey and redemptive sacrifice.   There are various ways you can offer the devotion of praying the Stations of the Cross to the many ways that our fellow human beings are still journeying with crosses towards their own "Mount Calvary".

Can we work on individual and systemic changes so that the suffering of the past can be a history?  Can we work on this transformation so that our labors and ideas are towards a more just and peaceful society.  We are hoping that there will be no more people who are forced to migrate due to economic hardships.  We are aware of the fact that some people are migrating due to violence, environmental and natural disasters.  We have exploited the forest causing indigenous people to be harmed and to be forced to vacate their spaces into a place where they can live and thrive using the natural resources they have been used to living for thousands of years.   People are affected by our lifestyle, consumption, and production that contributes to climate change.  Can we put a stop on our behavior that contributes to persistence of violence, climate change, and human trafficking negatively affecting the lives of those who are at the bottom of the society?

What about the people who are at the bottom of the society in terms of economic status?  What services have we allowed to them so that they too can be educated and be healed from violence, sexual abuse, social and economic injustices that they are experiencing every day because of their race and religion.  How are we making it possible that people who are abused are given justice by restoring their dignity through healthcare and social services?  How are we making it possible for people to feel protected by the very structure that are available in the society such as church, uniformed enforcement, military, government, non-government/non-profit institutions that are supposed to secure and safeguard their dignity and life?

As of this month of March, there 8 people for executions in death row with 1 in Texas, 2 in Ohio, 2 in Oklahoma, 2 in Missouri and one in Georgia.  Israel-Hamas-Gaza war is still going on since October reaching the death toll in Gaza to be 30,000.  United Nations reported more than 10,000 civilians have died from Russia-Ukraine war while several millions have fled from these two warring countries in search of safety and security.  According to, there has been 2.5 million migrants have been released and 2.8 million migrants have been deported.  Washington Post reported that there has been 2 million per year migrants crossing the border without documents every year since 2021.   New York Times reported 300,000 crossed the Southern Border in December last year.  Some of the causes for migrations are brought by environmental and natural disasters.  

During this time of lent, there are plenty of opportunities to pray and reflect as to what we are called to do.  Where is your heart resting?  Are you able to shed some light to some dark places in our world?  Are you able to carry some of the crosses in our world so that others can bear the weight of their heavy crosses or be forever relieved from the systemic crosses? 

Let us journey together during lent so that we can be in solidarity with those who are carrying the cross in the calvary and we can ponder on the actions that we are called individually and collectively. 

Some of the suggested Way of the Cross using the suffering of our time are below:

1. University of Incarnate Word's Mission and Ministry is hosting Stations of the Cross.  Please reach out to Dr. Arturo Chavez for more information at 210-259-1060 or 

2. Stations of the Cross to pray for the suffering ecology and the poor by Laudato Si Movement

With the suffering of Christ, the Laudato Si Movement reflect the suffering of the poor and the vulnerable and how through this way of the cross, we may be able to contemplate our ways so that we can be part of the solution so that our brothers and sisters can be redeemed from their crosses especially impacted by Climate Change.

Alternative Flipbook-based Stations of the Cross by the New York Chapter from the Global Catholic Movement: MNYCCM - Stations of the Cross 2024 (

Be blessed.