Fr Sosa: Christmas Plea for Peace

In his Christmas message, Fr Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, wishes to support the desire, hope and prayer for peace of Jesuits and the many partners in mission. He invites us to be inspired by Francis of Assisi, of course, but also by Monsignor Romero, Rupert Mayer, Ignacio Ellacuría and his companions who have fought with all their might against injustice, violence and war.

The expectation and announcement of the birth of the “Prince of Peace”, that nourish the second coming of the Saviour of the world, is an opportunity to reflect about peace and express the longing for peace that is in the hearts of so many Jesuits and so many of those who are our mission partners.

Decades ago Pope Pio XII claimed: “Nothing is lost by peace. Everything can be lost by war.” Pope Francis never tires of repeating that war is always, always, a defeat for humanity.

When we see the faces of the children in Afghanistan, or the women there who are longing for education…

When we see the faces of children in Ukraine separated from their parents, living in refugee camps…

When we see the faces of children in Gaza…

When we see the faces of sons and daughters of Israelis killed in the Hamas attacks…

When we see all of that we have to say loudly and unambiguously: “This has to stop.”

When will we learn that war makes it harder and harder to forgive? When will we learn that it embitters future generations and perpetuates a cycle of hatred every year, every month, every decade?

When will we see that instead of spending billions of dollars or euros on armaments, we could spend those billions on alleviating poverty? It seems we can never find the dollars and the euros to alleviate poverty and yet we can always find the money to start the next war and to build the next bomb.

When will we say: “Enough”? When will we rise up with the poor and the excluded and the victims not only to denounce the immorality but to find ways to change it?

We can draw inspirations from Saints like Francis of Assisi, Bishop Romero, Blessed Rupert Mayer, or martyrs like Ignacio Ellacuría and companions, who in the face of so much injustice, violence and war, felt such aversion that they fought against them in all their dimensions.

In this context, as Christmas approaches, the Society of Jesus wants to ask itself: what can be done, how can we advocate, how can we use any resources that we have in our apostolic works all over the world, to cry out for peace. Peace with justice is what the world is screaming for and longing for.

This Christmas 2023, may the Prince of Peace touch our hearts; we ask that he also touch the hearts of those who have the possibility and the responsibility to change the situation, and open themselves to the dialogue that will open the way to lasting peace.

Merry Christmas.

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