THE PIERCED HEART OF GOD
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a few days we will be entering Holy Week. We will be commemorating the week that gave salvation to humanity, to the world. But today where are we in the proclamation of the liberation wrought by Jesus? As I write these few lines, the world is still shaken by a terrible period of turmoil. Massacres continue in North Kivu, affecting thousands of men, women, and children who are only asking to live in peace. In Ukraine, in Bucha, hundreds of civilians were brutally executed; women were raped. Millions have been forced to leave their homeland, driven out by indiscriminate bombing. Elsewhere, migrants are forced to flee because of the misery and political repression in their countries: Sudan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, etc.
In spite of these horrors, there is an urgent need to assert that God alone gives us peace and justice. Without him, all the efforts we make will only be able to give us fleeting results. Lasting peace can only be achieved with and by God.
God suffers with man. His heart, like the heart of Jesus run through by the soldier’s lance, is pierced by human suffering. God is not unmoved; he is affected by the suffering that his children undergo. He shares in our pain, in our cries, in our tears. He is there present at the heart of our anguish and he cries with us. When human dignity and integrity are attacked, it is God who undergoes violence.
Pope Francis said, on his way back from Malta: « We don’t learn, we love war and the spirit of Cain. » There is an urgent need for us to show that the Revelation brought by Jesus opens a new door for us, that of peace and reconciliation.
In our communities, there are at times discussions that reveal significant differences of opinion on the interpretation of world events. It’s normal to debate, but we cannot permit ourselves to minimize the suffering of men. There are no just wars.
We have an obligation to work for reconciliation : « Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. » (Mt 5:9) Let us not add anything to God’s suffering by our behavior and judgments. Our communities, by their very vocation, are called to be prophetic, that is to say, that they have a mission to announce to the world that peace is
possible and that it is built on respect for others. To be peacemakers means contributing to the work of God’s salvation and redemption. It means, here and now, working for unity and reconciliation. With Isaiah we say that God « shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again » (Is 2, 4).
Easter approaches, our liberation and our salvation. Jesus had to suffer and die. He gave his life for the sake of peace and justice. We become God’s children to the extent that we identify with this generous gift of Christ. Let us be peacemakers, men and women who share all of human suffering, because we know that death will not have the last word. Easter is near!
Rome, April 5, 2022
Very Rev. Benoît Grière, A.A.