Just Gospel: Pope’s Intention for Peace and Non-Violence

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

April 21, 2023

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy offers a ‘Just Gospel’ blog post each month reflecting on Pope Francis Prayer Intention and includes any other specific focus of her religious community for the year. Find in this reflection the Pope’s April Intention for the spread of peace and non-violence, by decreasing the use of weapons by States and citizens.

The Easter stories are food for prayer during these April days. How often we hear Jesus wishing his friends peace. Pope Francis picks up this desire of our Risen Lord in his prayer intention which is: For the spread of peace and non-violence, by decreasing the use of weapons by States and citizens. 

The means to peace defined by the Holy Father would lead us to consider the issue of gun control.  This question has been and continues to be debated in many forums. A bit of internet research easily yields the fact that our Bishops desire the decrease of the use of weapons. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago did not mince words.

“Who are we as a nation,” he asked, “if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future? The Second Amendment, unlike the second commandment, did not come down from Sinai. There is an understanding that we all have in our hearts, engraved in our hearts, a natural law about the value of human life. And there is no amendment that can trump that.”

Pope Francis has frequently denounced gun trafficking, including in his message to a joint session of Congress. “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?” he asked U.S. lawmakers. “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.”

Beyond this politicized life issue, perhaps we can extend our reflections along the lines of O Sacrum Convivium. The phrase for this month is …the peace of the Kingdom where you live…In this part of the prayer we ask that God will help us to worship the Eucharistic Sacrament in a way that we can come to know this Kingdom peace.

Toni Pyke, a young mother, reflected with her 6-year-old son on what peace might look like or how it might sound, or smell, or taste or feel. He responded with these ideas: Peace smells like flowers. Peace looks like colors. Peace looks like happy faces.

She went on to consider how she might characterize peace. She says, I could only translate the idea in terms of the absence of war and conflict, falling short of what that may look or smell like. My son’s sensory concept of peace as portrayed through color, faces and flowers promotes an understanding of the realities of peace as human, as multi-racial, a togetherness represented through an interpretation of nature. Today’s global conflict realities obscure our abilities to see, hear, smell or touch peace.

It would be an interesting way to take some quiet time if we would consider how we would describe peace using many senses. We know that St. Paul tells us, in 1 Corinthians, “eye has not seen, and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love him.” The Kingdom of peace is beyond what we can perceive, but it makes for a joyful meditation to ponder its possibilities.

If you wish a short introduction to your own musings, check out What does Peace look like to you? #InternationalDayOfPeace – YouTube

Easter peace be with you!


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