Christmas Season 2022 - Christ Child invites us to believe in peace
Fr Tom Smolich, the international director of Jesuit Relief Services, says the coming of the Christ Child “means that the seeds of peace, the hope for something new, is already with us.”
He recalled a recent visit to Bucharest, where he saw Romanians and Ukrainian refugees working together “to create a sense of welcome to nourish and kindle the hope that people will bring with them even in the darkest hours.”
“If we can be open to the power of the message of the Prince of Peace,” says Fr Smolich, “the hope for peace will indeed be fulfilled.”
Fr Tom Smolich's Message for Christmas 2022
I'm Father Tom Smolich, the international director of the Jesuit Refugee Service. And this year, the good news that Christ is born has a very specific meaning for me.
For the past ten months, JRS has been accompanying forcibly displaced people, because of the Ukraine crisis. We're working with people still in the country and also those who have fled to Poland, Hungary, Romania, and other countries in Europe.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit our work in Bucharest, Romania. And I was deeply moved by what I saw, what I felt. I experienced a sense of people working together. Of building community in a difficult time. Romanians and Ukrainians working together to create a sense of welcome to nourish and kindle the hope that people bring with them, even in some of the darkest hours.
With that experience, what has been very much on my mind this Christmas is our first reading from midnight Mass, from the Prophet Isaiah, chapter nine. When he prophesies that the yoke on our shoulders is broken, that boots that trampled in war, cloaks rolled in blood will all be burned. Because a Child is born for us, a Son is given, the Prince of peace.
To me, this very much means that the seeds of peace, the hope for something new is already with us. And if we can be open to the power of the message of the Prince of Peace, the hope for peace will indeed be fulfilled.
Now, I'm not a mindless optimist. Peace is not coming tomorrow to Ukraine, to Myanmar, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other places.
But it does mean that the hope is there. That we will find peace. That we will find what the Christ Child invites us to see and believe.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a very joyful 2023. God bless.
Fr Thomas Smolich
Jesuit Relief Services
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