Peace, truth and Christian witness

Sacrosanctum Concilium,

Peace is more than just the avoidance of conflict or the absence of a feud, or on a more grand scale, war.

Peace is the work for justice and the output of charity.

The Church preaches peace because peace is a sign and fruit of the promise of Christ, the Redeemer.

Peace is more than a détente or a passive-aggressive way of being in the world.

Where peace is the avoidance of decisions or of truth it becomes “peace at any price” and is totally utilitarian, another product to be wheeled out when the politics of the home, country, school, or parish require it.

It is not real peace, because the underlying conflict it covers up still remains because truth has been denied.

Peace and truth go together, just as justice and freedom do because these proclaim the presence of God’s Kingdom of which we are the witnesses.

Evangelisation: St Pope Paul VI in his 1975 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi wrote of the Church’s role of evangelisation in the world. He asked three questions:

  • In our day, what has happened to that hidden energy of the Good News, which is able to have a powerful effect on human conscience?
  • To what extent and in what way is that evangelical force capable of really transforming the people of this century?
  • What methods should be followed in order that the power of the Gospel may have its effect?

He continues, ‘The Church is born of the evangelizing activity of Jesus and the Twelve’(5).

The Emmaus experience is each persons’, as the Scriptures open our eyes to the presence of God. Born of this, you and I go out to “gospel” others in a way that is inviting, welcoming and freeing. The transformation is an ‘interior change’ that moves us to see the Other as friend and not as foe and into conversations with them.

Witness is the key for Pope Paul.

“Above all the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness.

“Take a Christian or a handful of Christians who, in the midst of their own community, show their capacity for understanding and acceptance, their sharing of life and destiny with other people, their solidarity with the efforts of all for whatever is noble and good.

“Let us suppose that, in addition, they radiate in an altogether simple and unaffected way their faith in values that go beyond current values, and their hope in something that is not seen and that one would not dare to imagine.

“Through this wordless witness, these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live:

  • “Why are they like this?
  • “Why do they live in this way?
  • “What or who is it that inspires them?
  • “Why are they in our midst?

“Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one.

“Here we have an initial act of evangelization.” (21)

Pope Paul continues and notes the need to evangelise baptised people ‘who for the most part have not formally renounced their Baptism but who are entirely indifferent to it and not living in accordance with it.

Christian witness is our call.

Witness must become our flesh!

The most profound call to Christian witness perhaps comes in families, where, fully clothed, we are as it were almost naked; known ‘warts and all’.




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