Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace

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By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

The question of preaching justice dates back to the report of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission in 2007. Liturgical Renewal was an important issue addressed at the Second Vatican Council when people were called to a deeper appreciation and use of scripture and to a fuller participation of all in the celebration of liturgy. The goal was to have all participate and bring about the “transformation of our world”and to enable them to truly live as members of the Mystical Body of Christ and continue God’s healing work. Recently Pope Benedict the XV1 urged the faith community “to be true promoters of peace and justice. All who participate in the Eucharist must commit themselves to peace-seeking in a world scarred by war, violence, terrorism, economic woes and sexual exploitation.”

     Some preachers fear that because of the church’s tax exempt status, by preaching justice they might lose their tax emption. The only restriction they have is they cannot engage in partisan politics but nothing prevents them from being advocates on social issues that have a moral dimension. They must be a voice for the voiceless and address issues such as prejudice, racism, respect for the environment, civility in public discourse and other issues that need to be addressed. Preaching justice calls for study and understand of the issues as they relate to the Scripture and liturgy. We are also called to reflect on our own lives as preachers and our own need for transformation.

We also need to preach justice without demonizing the participants, and bring a hopeful and inspiring vision for the community, church and society. Martin Luther King said: “I have a dream” of a world more in line with God’s design. We need to imagine such a world and count on God’s assistance and power in transforming our world. We are all called to accountability for our actions or lack of response. For example, recently the Wis. Cl. of churches invited all people to participate in a season of civility in this pre-election time and treat each other with respect, truth-telling and integrity.

The church can help members to understand the deeper spiritual meaning of justice and peace as the foundation of our living. They can join with other adults and also invite children and youth to participate and learn about ways to practice peace and justice in their homes and communities. Churches can also address racism and bigotry of every kind. From a small spark a great fire can grow and glow. May we spread the fire of God’s love and fill the world with hope. May the Spirit sustain us to continue the work of recreating the world in some small way to more closely resemble God’s dream for all people. No effort is too small to make a difference.



By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

In recent months, it is encouraging to see communities coming together to address the violence, shooting and killing that plague our communities.  Violence is evident in a variety of situations and is not limited to any one area, class, color or creed. It is a regional, national and international concern. The solution belongs to entire communities, and each of us individually must be part of the solution. We all need to demonstrate that violence never solves anything and only begets more violence. We also need to model for children and youth that violence is not a solution and we can explore other ways of solving problems that lead to peace.  We know peace is not easy. It takes tireless effort of each one of us. Children must see and experience more peaceful ways of solving problems. Conflict resolution classes are becoming available in many communities and are very helpful.

More gun control is required to keep guns out of the hands of youth, the mentally ill, and people with a criminal record, as well as others who are not responsible for their actions. Many people in communities are not supportive of gun control.  We must urge our political leaders to effectively support gun control in their communities, such as Mayors Against Gun Violence. Children learn how to relate peacefully and cooperatively from the adults around them. We can all be redirected to teaching and modeling peace at every level of society. Children can learn how to reach out through projects that help people in need. Norman Cousins, noted philosopher, once said that the creative minds that invented war, can also imagine a peaceful  community, nation or world and take steps to bring it about.

To accomplish all this successfully, we must pray and contemplate on a daily basis to create peace in our hearts, minds, homes and communities. The federal budget is truly a moral document that deserves our input and challenge as needed. We must urge leaders to redirect some of our resources toward peace and justice actions rather than toward war. We pray the Spirit will guide us and our leaders in all of our endeavors to help us realize God’s plan for our world. It must start with ourselves, our families and neighborhoods, and then expand into the broader community and world. Let us rejoice that God’s power working in and through us will accomplish infinitely more than we dare ask or imagine. Each one of us can make a difference.  No action is too small to contribute to the goal of peace. We pray in the song: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Let us begin today with courage, conviction and hope. Church involvement is also crucial.  Faith communities can reach out to people , those standing on the street corners or belonging to gangs and give them  soul food to meet their needs and redirect their lives. . Don’t be afraid to challenge their life styles and action and let them know we do not approve or tolerate violent beharior. Continue the peace-making endeavor all the way through adulthood and share ways to practice peace.  Involve youth in coming up with solutions to community problems and to work for peace. Think of a pebble cast into the water. It will create ripples. Each ripple joined with others can create a force for good and make a big difference.


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -

• Justice Bulletin Board •
• A New Year •
• Two Essays on Peace •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •

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