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Center for Action and Contemplation

Justice with Peace

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Justice: Week 1

Justice with Peace
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If you want peace, work for justice. —Pope Paul VI [1]

Jack Jezreel, the founder of JustFaith Ministries, writes about six crucial ingredients for Christianity to be an effective force for peace and justice, “peace with justice, justice with peace.” Today we’ll explore the first three and tomorrow the remaining elements.  

Relationships with Those at Risk

First, the Church—the People of God—must always be deliberate about our relationships with those who are at risk in the world. . . . The single biggest obstacle to the church’s mission and vision of peace with justice is the fact of the segregation of the poor/the oppressed/the exploited/the neglected/the stranger from the comfortable/the secure/the satisfied. The result is a divide that convinces the comfortable and secure that all is well and persuades the poor that there is no hope. . . .

Regardless of what else we do, we must stay connected in some kind of face-to-face way with the persons and the places at risk. . . .

Justice Education

The second critical ingredient . . . is justice education. . . . The single most repeated phrase in the Gospels is [what] Jesus uses to describe the vision and focus of his ministry: the Reign of God. . . . This is the reign of service, reconciliation, justice, generosity, compassion and peacemaking. Jesus calls disciples to this vision. Is it fair to say that Jesus did not call disciples to follow him for the purpose of idolizing or honoring him? Rather, the reason to follow him is that he is pointing toward a new possibility—a holy possibility. . . .

Catholic social teaching speaks to dignity, solidarity, the option for the poor, the rights of workers, care of creation, peace and so on. It is, in fact, an extraordinary tradition. The only problem is that it is so often not integrated in the life of the local faith community, the parish. It is, to use a tiresome and now pathetic phrase, “our best kept secret.” . . .

Simpler Lifestyles

. . . The call to a simpler lifestyle is partially prompted by the observation that the world is at war because parts of the world are literally sucking the life out of the other parts. The history of affluence is the history of exploitation is the history of war. . . . For us to live as we live in this country, we need to dominate others so that they cannot use the limited resources that we want.

And our lifestyles not only put us at war with each other but with the natural order. The reality of global warming is sobering indeed. . . .

Authentic love will not allow us to continue to ask the rest of the world to put itself at the mercy of our conveniences.

[1] Pope Paul VI, Message for World Day of Peace (January 1, 1972),

Jack Jezreel, “Culturing Peace in a Culture of Violence,” Phase 4, Session 19 of the JustFaith 2017-18 Program,

Image credit: Memorial Corridor at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (detail), Montgomery, Alabama (800 six-feet-tall hanging steel monuments, one for each county where a lynching took place, with the names of the victims engraved on them).
Inspiration for this week’s banner image:
Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice. —Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, The Equal Justice Initiative
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