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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”(Mt. 5:9)

Peace is a fundamental longing that we Filipinos aspire. It is the crown of life. Peace is not limited to the absence of war but it refers to the total well-being of the person. Hence the call to be a peace builder remains a great challenge. Situations of unpeace are prevalent all over the land and we need to live the three I’s of peace. (INTEGRITY, INTIMACY WITH THE GOD OF PEACE AND INVOLVEMENT IN PEACEBUILDING)

Peace is having an upright heart. It is a fruit of straightforwardness, integrity, honesty and truthfulness. This must be the medicine to the systemic culture of corruption in our country. This is a fundamental key to peace. Peace is developing personal integrity.

Peace too is establishing right relationships. It means establishing right relationship with God, with neighbors, with ourselves and the rest of creation. It is a fruit of justice but social Justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.”( St. John Paul II) The ongoing conflicts, wars (ideological or tribal) will not really bear fruit in peace. “We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain and death. Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death. Violence and war are the language of death. There will never be peace and justice until we know justice and peace in our hearts.” (Pope Francis)

This calls for a deeper resource to be a peacebuilder and that is our INTIMACY with GOD. Peace is a fruit of Godliness. It means fulfilling the Covenant of Shalom. It is rooted in love and forgiveness. Hate cannot drive out hate but only Love and Forgiveness. Peace is a fruit of justice, harmony, quality relationships where we feel safe, secure, and free from danger, threats or fear. Our people in the hinterlands are suffering until now, they need to be freed from fear.

Finally, it calls us all to be involved in Peacebuilding. We call for an end to conflicts and violent encounters between warring parties in the country. Let us give Peace a chance to reign in our country by going back to the negotiating table of dialogue towards establishing and sustaining long term relationships for the common good of all. Peacemaking can be a matter of policy only if it is first a matter of the heart. (metanoia) We then call for sincerity from all parties involved in this dialogue. Let peace then begin with ourselves, help promote inclusivity amidst diversity, move towards interdependence and dialogue. May we allow Jesus, the Prince of Peace to shine in our hearts and in our land.

Bishop of Malaybalay







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