From the Homily of New Year
Midnight 1st January 2004 St. Mary’s Cathedral
The Feast day of Mary the Mother of God is also the World Day of Peace. And on this day every year, the Pope proclaims his message for peace. This year’s message is entitled ‘An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace’. I wish to pass on to you all that I have read and learnt from the Pope’s message. 2003 was a year when the fear of terrorism encompassed the whole world. The Pope stated the following about terrorism. “Even so, if it is to be won, the fight against terrorism cannot be limited solely to repressive and punitive operations. It is essential that the use of force, even when necessary, be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks. The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels: on the one hand, by eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice which frequently drive people to more desperate and violent acts; and on the other hand, by insisting on an education inspired by respect for human life in every situation: the unity of the human race is a more powerful reality than any contingent divisions separating individuals and people.” It is essential to search for the causes of terrorism and try to eliminate them.
What the Pope’s message emphasizes is love and forgiveness. “For the establishment of true peace in the world, justice must find its fulfillment in charity. History shows how justice is frequently unable to free itself from rancor, hatred and even cruelty. By itself, justice is not enough. Indeed, it can even betray itself, unless it is open to that deeper power which is love.”
The Pope concludes, proclaiming strongly: “Love must thus enliven every sector of human life and extend to the international order. Only a humanity in which there reigns the ‘civilization of love’ will be able to enjoy authentic and lasting peace…Yes, dear Brothers and Sisters throughout the world, in the end love will be victorious! Let everyone be committed to hastening this victory. For it is the deepest hope of every human heart.” I deeply desire that this year will bring to realization the ‘civilization of love’.