“Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19)
Dear Brothers, members of the Nazarene Fraternities, Aspirants to Brothers, Educational Communities, Christian Communities, Catechists, and Friends of the Sa-Fa Family:
“Peace be with you” is the message that Jesus addresses to his disciples locked in fear in a house in Jerusalem after the death of Jesus. To welcome this greeting and to spread it is my desire to congratulate this Easter for the whole Sa-Fa Family, especially in those places of our mission where faith in the Risen Jesus seems to have also been lost and it is urgent to hear again the greeting of peace from Jesus. A greeting that dispels our sorrows and gives us back lost faith and hope. “Peace be with you” should be the message accompanying us this Easter. A peace that we appreciate, that we offer and promote.
A peace that we appreciate
A peace that we are appreciate because it is the peace that Jesus offers us at Easter each year and it is proved by the Cross and affirmed by his Resurrection. A peace of Spirit that no one can take away. A peace that destroys enmity and hatred. A peace that neither enslaves nor breaks the inner harmony of man. A peace of heart, which does not invade, does not hurt dignity, is not imposed and does not corner it. It is not a peace of bows or swords, nor of treaties or majorities that are imposed.
The peace that Jesus gives is a gift of the Holy Spirit given to those who, in the midst of life’s anguish, turn to God with supplications and thanksgiving. It is a peace opposed to “discord, jealousy, anger, quarrels, divisions, envy…” (Gal 5:20). It is a peace fruit of spiritual victories mainly over oneself. It is the peace of the Risen Christ that gives us a new vision of the world.
The peace of Jesus is a paschal gift that Christ offers to the Sa-Fa Family as our congregational documents point out. The peace of the Risen Christ is the joy of this Easter and of all Easter and the reason for our hope. To reach it, we need to convert ourselves to the truth of the Gospel and undo wrong ways. The message of Jesus is intimately linked to peace and is a central part of his teaching and the way he communicates the Father’s love to us. This is the message that we must make present in our communities, fraternities, families, schools, parishes and Christian groups. Is this the peace we appreciate?
A peace that we offer
A peace that we offer because it is the peace that comes from Easter. A peace that fosters unity; a spiritual peace that is absent from negative feelings; a peace of heart that manifests itself when we forgive ourselves; when we share pain; when we repent of the evils committed; when we forget our grudges; when we make room for tenderness and love; when we identify with the feelings of Christ.
A peace of God’s presence, of the stillness of spirit, of the acceptance of problems, of the right relationship with oneself, with others, with God and with the environment. It is a peace that works through dialogue and reconciliation to solve problems between individuals, groups or families.
It is peace that manifests itself when we listen, when we understand the needs of others, and when we avoid unnecessary arguments. In short, when we think of others. It is the peace of the Beatitudes. This is the message that we must make present in our communities, fraternities, families, schools, parishes and Christian groups. Is this the peace we offer?
The peace that we promote
For “Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). Working for peace is a task that we must all assume in the Sa-Fa Family. Creating awareness of peace, sowing peace in the heart of each person, of institutions and creating or joining peace movements must be concerns that affect us. Collaborating in the culture of peace sometimes requires changing our attitudes and behaviour in order to avoid violence and conflict. In this task of collective awareness of the culture of peace, the Sa-Fa Educational Communities have a primary responsibility.
If we want to make society fairer and more peaceful, we must make a determined and systematic effort to educate children and young people in the ideas, feelings, proposals and experiences of peace. In this task, parents, educators, family and institution must generously assume the beautiful and difficult role of being true peace educators. A global peace that relies on small gestures of peace in the classroom, in catechesis, in the family, in the group, at work, in the village or in the city and in the interpersonal relationships. This is the message that we must make present in our communities, fraternities, families, schools, parishes and Christian groups. Is this the kind of peace we promote?
Dear members of the Sa-Fa Family. The peace of Easter is God’s gift and at the same time our task. In the peace of Easter, we find sufficient grounds for inspiration to foster the peace of Christ in our world. Today as yesterday we need to welcome, meditate and spread the message of peace of Jesus destined for the whole world and that his words descend from the head to the heart.
Happy Easter of Resurrection.
Br. Juan Andrés Martos Moro SG