As the world battles with ensuring a peaceful co-existence among people and nations, the Pope’s message on the 54th world peace day re-echoes the need for all to be their brothers’ keeper. In his message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, Pope Francis appealed to the international community and individuals to foster a “culture of care” by advancing on the “path of fraternity, justice and peace among individuals, communities, peoples and nations. “At the dawn of a new year, I extend cordial greetings to Heads of States and Governments, leaders of International Organizations, spiritual leaders and followers of the different religions, and to men and women of goodwill. To all I offer my best wishes that the coming year will enable humanity to advance on the path of fraternity, justice and peace among individuals, communities, peoples and nations.” Calling on “political leaders and the private sector to spare no effort to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines and to the essential technologies needed to care for the sick, the poor and those who are most vulnerable, he acknowledged the sacrifices made by professionals in battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Holy Father admonished faithfuls to learn from the ultimate care giver-God, in His creation story, as God the Creator is the source of our human vocation to care. “In the Bible, the Book of Genesis shows from its very first pages the importance of care or protection in God’s plan for humanity. It highlights the relationship between man (’Adam) and the earth (’Adamah), and among ourselves as brothers and sisters. In the biblical account of creation, God entrusts the garden “planted in Eden” (cf. Gen 2:8) to Adam’s care, to “till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). “In the prophetic tradition, the biblical understanding of justice found its highest expression in the way a community treats its weakest members. Amos (cf. 2:6-8; 8) and Isaiah (cf. 58), in particular, insistently demand justice for the poor, who, in their vulnerability and powerlessness, cry out and are heard by God, who watches over them (cf. Ps 34:7; 113:7-8)” The message also captures the examples of care exhibited by Jesus Christ, which according to him represents the supreme revelation of the Father’s love for humanity. Explaining Care as promotion of the dignity and rights of each person, the Pope added –
“The very concept of the person, which originated and developed in Christianity, fosters the pursuit of a fully human development. Person always signifies relationship, not individualism; it affirms inclusion, not exclusion, unique and inviolable dignity, not exploitation. “Persons are created to live together in families, communities and societies, where all are equal in dignity. Human rights derive from this dignity, as do human duties, like the responsibility to welcome and assist the poor, the sick, the excluded, every one of our “neighbours, near or far in space and time.” The Pontiff added that care comes through Care for the common good; Care through solidarity; and Care and protection of creation. It would be recalled that the World Peace Day was established by Pope St. Paul VI in 1967, as the first World Day of Peace was observed on January 1, 1968. On New Year’s Day, the Church also celebrates the solemn feast of Mary, Mother of God.