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.

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