Peace cannot simply be an avoidance of conflict. It has to be deeply rooted in our hearts to become our common vocation, destroying all fear, seeking dialogue toward genuine peace.
Series: Homelessness: A Call for Action
Homelessness is most often associated with rough sleeping – the most obvious form of homelessness. But the term ‘homeless’ also applies to people living in temporary shelters or institutions because they are houseless. A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. With homelessness now comes hopelessness. The hopelessness stems from the fact that the exits out of homelessness are blocked. Today, homeless people need the warmth of acceptance by others, more than the physical shelter that they can be offered.
Visual reminders are necessary as they can stir people into action when statistics fail to find a listening ear. This is the effect Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, who has become renowned for his “Homeless Jesus” sculptures, hopes art should impart to its perceivers. Commenting on the same statue which was installed in Dublin in May, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said: “For the Christian, the homeless are not just statistics; our belief recalls that the plight of the homeless is our plight. This image of the “Homeless Jesus” reminds us of the demands of belief in Jesus Christ. It challenges us, before we feel we can enter the cathedral, if we have the right credentials to enter.”
A tangible expression of the Pope of Mercy is his concern for the homeless. Through it, he not only sets an example of how Christians should act but also reminds us of our obligation toward the poor, on whom God’s special favor rests but for whom the oppressive economic structures do not operate.
On the evening of that first day of the week,” according to the Gospel of John, “when the doors were locked, where the disciples were … Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them: ‘Peace be with you.’ ”
Sri Lanka has become home and a new frontier of mission for three Comboni Sisters: Sr. Quy Dinh, Sr. Nelly Kangogo and Sr. Libanos Ayele. In the spirit of Comboni, they live their passion for the poorest, joyfully sharing their lives with tea plantation workers, helping in the formation of the young, opening doors of hope for them, and serving as bridges of dialogue and encounter between different religions.
“Unity in diversity” is a trite and often overused concept that describes how coalitions are able to exist and work towards achieving a common goal. However, this same hackneyed phrase is perhaps the best expression to illustrate how Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet was able to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the country’s political crisis from 2013 to 2014, making it the Nobel Committee’s choice for the 2015 Peace Prize.
A heart filled with passion for service to the young has brought Fr. Vicenzo to go beyond peripheries into the “no man’s land” – the dark corners, inhospitable situations of abuse and exploitation – reaching out to the young who have been left to themselves in the rough corners of life.
Both members of the British aristocracy, the love story of Frank and Elizabeth Longford, from its romantic beginning to its end, is fascinating and exemplar. Over 69 years of marriage and eight children, their lives remained distinct and yet emotionally complementary. Frank Pakenham (1905-2001) was a politician and social reformer. As Lord Longford, he was notable for his lifelong advocacy of penal reform, but especially because he visited prisoners on a regular basis for nearly seventy years, until his death. He saw politics less as a career and more as part of a moral crusade. Conscience for him came before party loyalty. At his death, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “He was a great man of passionate integrity and humanity and a great reformer, committed to modernizing the law while also caring deeply for individuals.” Meanwhile, Lady Elizabeth (1906-2002) was “addicted to motherhood,” but also an accomplished historian.
John the Baptist is the bridge who, from the banks of the First or Old Testament, brings about the fulfillment of the old promises to the new Promised Land, at the time of the New Testament. He is “the prophet of the Most High who will go before the Lord to prepare a way for Him (Lk 1:68.76.79). He proclaims himself “the Voice” (Mt 3:2), “the Friend of the Husband” (Jn 3:29). Jesus gives him the following praise: “Of all the children born to women, there has never been anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:11; Lk 1:5-25 & 57-80; Mt 3:1-17).