Greetings to all Lasallians who are connected to launch this year’s International Lasallian Days for Peace. Our theme is I Choose Peace.
We are connected today in the midst of the pandemic which has opened our eyes to glaring societal inequalities. As one author notes, “The virus has lain bare what people who have been oppressed or marginalized have long known – the injustice and unsustainability of the old order.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, reflecting on the state of affairs in the world, has said, “it is more important than ever to work for a culture of peace, as the essential foundation for global cooperation and action”.
As Lasallians concerned for the wellbeing of our sisters and brothers and dedicated to helping everyone, especially those who are poor, to live life to the fullest we know that there can be no peace without social justice.
As I reflect on the sickness, death, turmoil and disruptions that we are all experiencing, I am reminded of the words of Jesus’ at the start of his public ministry:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,*
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed, go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
(Luke 4:18, ff)
I believe that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us as we launch the International Lasallian Days of Peace. We are called to be proactively involved in concrete actions that free people from all kinds of oppression. When we do this, we indeed bring good tidings to the poor, the sick and the suffering.
We Lasallians must continue to accompany those who live on the margins and peripheries and join them in their quest for justice. I am convinced that Young Lasallians working together play an important role in making the world more just and more peaceful for everyone.
My response to injustice, poverty, sickness and war is: I choose peace. I invite each one of you to also choose peace. Our choice is not a simple slogan; it requires us to create effective strategies to make the world a better home for all. We have to start in our daily interactions with each other and together reach out to those most in need.
Let us choose peace and make 2020-2021 a year acceptable to the Lord.
I am grateful to Keane Palatino and the International Council of Young Lasallians for inviting all of us to choose peace as a way to bring glad tidings to the poor.
Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.
 Brueggemann, Walter. Virus as a Summons to Faith. Eugene, Oregon. 2020, p. ix.