Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Peace is the Realization of Justice.
The new liturgical year has begun, and we are now waiting to begin another calendar year. Sadness was evident during a great part of the year, not only the loss of 304 victims in the Sewol tragedy but also many other incidents and a social environment that has left many of the citizens with a heavy heart.
The columnist on the opinion page of the Peace Weekly reminds us of the plight of the irregular- workers (working by contract and without a full time job). This situation is getting worse. The leaders in our society by their words and actions dishearten many in our society. Surprisingly, they blame those who speak out against injustices and corruption as hurting the peace and security of the nation. The press and those enforcing the law are protecting those who blame the ones speaking against the injustices of society. However, he asks, if those speaking out remained silenced would we have a more peaceful society?
Many of the Documents of the Church we hear repeatedly that peace is the realization of justice. Peace is not just the absence of war. Nor is it maintaining a balance between two hostile forces. St. Augustine in the City of God spends time showing how it was the corruption in the Roman Empire that led to its downfall: lack of justice in the society. For Augustine justice was to give every person what was due. When this is not followed the persons should be punished.
God in creation has given us an abundance of resources, plenty for all to eat and live and when this is monopolized by a few we have an injustice. When we merely follow the supply and demand principle and allow the growth of the irregular workers we are increasing the numbers who are being driven to live inhumanly, and what they should have is being taken away. St. Augustine in Book IV of the City of God cries out that a nation without justice is like a band of robbers.
We don't lose hope concerning our own situation says the columnist. We are never going to get the peace we want on this earth. Augustine accepts this as given. We call this among Christians original sin. Once we forget this we will be faced with much anguish and frustration in life, but we continue working to search for the ideal and never give up, but the complete peace will only come in the here after.
For a Christian our strength comes from God. In John 14:27 Jesus says: "Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. " He concludes the column my asking us to accept the peace we have received and have the courage of love to make it present wherever we are.