Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May this Sacrifice of our reconciliation,
we pray, O Lord, advance the peace and salvation of all the world.
For forty-five years I have invoked this prayer ardently for world peace, an end of conflict in the streets and for harmony in the Church.
Upon my return from Rome this week, sadly, I have come to days that are painful and weighed down with violence and heartless vengeance with little sign of forgiveness or compromise.
On the world level, the national political and civil level, on the community level and in our families we have seen a fearful pattern of abuse and disregard for the most precious gift of the created world, the human person.
In the name of ideologies, doctrinaire positions and political correctness we have negated the prime commandment of love, love of God and love of neighbor.
That commandment of love we are reminded by Saint John in his first letter to his Christian community is that”… God first loved us”
He gave us beautiful world to live in, a life to participate and appreciate this world and because of own violence to self and that world, He renewed us with new life through the death and Resurrection of His Son.
Committed to us God the Father wanted to bring the definitive message of reconciliation, peace and love to shattered world in Jesus of Nazareth the Christ.
That message is an eternal and uncompromising legacy from Jesus through His Church of forgiveness, renewal and hope.
We as members of His Church are carriers and messengers of this Word.
Through our commitment to Christ the Living One in that Church we must take His message of reconciliation, peace and love to a still shattered and incomplete world and through the gift of forgiveness given by God through Jesus convert own inner violence of sin and pride into a sense harmony and peace with a loving God and His expectant fearful people.
Our example of communion with God the Father through Jesus and the Spirit and brothers and sisters in prayer, communal and private, in our daily living and our commerce with the world outside our faith community the Church can be a powerful transformer of good which is God and His Plan of love through the millenniums.
We can change the world of violence, isolation and despair by the voice of our hope in the grace of Christ into a place of harmony, respect and treasure for every human person on the earth.
Won’t you join me in that mission by prayer, devout and regular attendance at Mass and taking the opportunity to reconcile yourself and the world by timely celebration of Sacrament of Reconciliation. The mission Jesus gave us with Him to go announce His Kingdom of Peace and Love.
Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, D.D., J.C.D.