For the past 55 years, the Roman Catholic Church has highlighted the fundamental, yet weighty, call to peace by celebrating World Day of Peace. Each year, on January 1st, our Pope issues a World Day of Peace message inviting Catholics throughout the world to stop, to pray, to learn about and to act for peace.
The Peace we are invited to embrace, on this World Day of Peace, goes way beyond an experience of inner tranquility. It includes a willingness to enter into the contradictions and tension of injustice, falsehood, and brokenness in our lives, our community and our world. We are called to see, to understand, and to act in a way that ensures abundance, prosperity, and well-being for all.
This is the biblical notion of shalom: abundance, prosperity, and well-being. Pope Francis states, “when in Hebrew we wish shalom, we wish for a beautiful, full, prosperous life, but also according to truth and justice.” Pope Francis encourages, “at that moment there seems to be no peace, but it is the Lord who puts us on this path to reach the peace that He himself will give us."
The message of World Day of Peace varies from year to year. However, the theme is always fixated on creating a culture of radical care in our relationships. The exact focus each year changes to meet the needs and rising issues of that particular year
On January 1, 2022 Pope Francis calls us to stop, pray, learn about and act for peace by reflecting on his World Day of Peace Message entitled Education, Work and Dialogue Between Generations: Tools For Building Lasting Peace.
In 2022, Pope Francis invites us to consider three challenges:
1. We are invited "to read the signs of the times with the eyes of faith, so that the direction of this change awakens new and old questions with which it is right and necessary to be confronted." In other words, we are called to hear the challenging facts, speak the hard truths, move toward the demanding actions. Denial is not an option for us.
2. Pope Francis seeks to answer questions about education and how it contributes to lasting peace. He addresses how work can "respond more or less to the vital needs of human beings on justice and freedom."
3. This Message also looks at the extent to which generations are in solidarity with each other and whether governments "succeed in setting a horizon of peace."
Rooting ourselves in the saving and reconciling love of God, we are invited to ask ourselves these questions:
· Does work in the world respond to the vital need of humans for justice and freedom?
· Are the generations truly seeking solidarity with each other?
· Do all generations believe in the goodness of the future?
· Do governments succeed in setting a horizon of peace through education and work?
In 2022, let us seek answers to these questions through prayer and take action: action big and small, personal and corporate. Let us trust God and work together to find the power of peace in our lives and world.