How We Can Make A Difference

In the world today, there are many forms of unrest and turmoil. According to the United Nations for example, 80 million people are displaced. These people face the challenges of accessing education, healthcare, job opportunities and other resources. Ageing is another global issue. At present, the number of people over the age of 65 outnumbered children under 5 for the first time. Racial inequality and injustice are causing protests against “worldwide racism”. The riots and demonstrations are occurring not only in the USA and in Europe, but are worldwide.

Other forms are violence including child abuse, domestic violence, abuse of elderly and violence in institutional settings such as schools, workplaces, prisons and nursing homes.

What can we do? How can we make a difference?

In 1955, a song, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, appeared and became very popular among young people from many different races and religions. These young people were so moved by the words that they brought the song to their churches and schools. Since then, it has been sung at Masses, graduations, peace marches, and other gatherings throughout the world.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let There be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

The song has become so popular over the years because it speaks to a desire of every human heart – the desire for peace. Everyone wants peace on earth. And everyone wants to contribute to making our planet more peaceful. It is a song that we all can relate to no matter what our religion, race, ethnic background, or political affiliation is. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

When we see all the sad divisions in our world, all the injustice, and all the violence, we can be left feeling helpless. We want to defend our brothers and sisters who are being harmed. We want to work for justice and peace. But, oftentimes, we don’t know where to begin. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to say.

This beautiful song, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, teaches us how we can make a difference. “Let peace begin with me.” If I treat everyone I meet as a sister and a brother, there will be less harm done in the world. If I forgive others from my heart rather than seeking vengeance, there’ll be less violence in the world. And if I lend my voice to those who are voiceless, there will be less injustice in the world. It begins with me. It begins with you.

It is important to work for laws that are just and political structures that are less oppressive. But if people do not have peace in their hearts, they will break those laws. Without peaceful people, we cannot have a peaceful world.

That is where Jesus comes in. He is the Prince of Peace. He promises us a peace that the world cannot give. He tells us, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

From Jesus, we learn to love our enemies. From Jesus, we learn to return good for evil. From Jesus, we learn to stand with those who are oppressed. From Jesus, we learn to give without counting the cost.

If peace is going to be a reality in this troubled world, each of us has to look into our own hearts. Where have we failed to forgive? Do I see people of other religions and races as enemies or as sisters and brothers? Do I really desire peace and justice or do I just want to force my way of life and my ideologies on others?

If we are to call ourselves Christians, there is some behavior that we cannot tolerate in ourselves and in others. Using slurs that demean people of other races, sexual orientations, religions, and ethnic backgrounds is a sin. It robs people of their dignity as children of God. We should never tell such jokes and we should never laugh at them.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Zechariah announces the coming of a Savior who will destroy the weapons of war. Zechariah was speaking to a people who knew well the devastation of war. Like us, he dreamed of a time when the weapons of war would be put away forever. That Savior has come. He is Jesus Christ. Before He can bring peace to the world, however, we have to welcome His peace into our hearts.

We learn about Jesus, who is meek and humble, in the the New Testament. He didn’t bring about His Kingdom through force or violence. He did it through meekness and humility. By following His example we can bring peace to this broken world. Peace on earth has begun with Jesus. Now it must begin with me. Now it must begin with you.

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