Is 32:15-18; Ps 7; Jn14:23-29
Given the scriptures we have just heard, allow me to share the words of Pope Paul VI as he visited the United Nations on October 4, 1965:
Here our message reaches its culmination and we will speak first of all negatively. These are the words you are looking for us to say and the words we cannot utter without feeling aware of their seriousness and solemnity: never again one against the other, never, never again!
Was not this the very end for which the United Nations came into existence: to be against war and for peace? Listen to the clear words of a great man who is no longer with us, John Kennedy, who proclaimed four years ago: “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” There is no need for a long talk to proclaim the main purpose of your Institution. It is enough to recall that the blood of millions, countless unheard-of sufferings, useless massacres and frightening ruins have sanctioned the agreement that unites you with an oath that ought to change the future history of the world: never again war, never again war! It is peace, peace, that has to guide the destiny of the nations of all mankind!
And further: The edifice you are building does not rest on purely material and terrestrial foundations, for in that case it would be a house built on sand. It rests most of all upon consciences. Yes, the time has come for “conversion,” for personal transformation, for interior renewal. We have to get used to a new way of thinking about man, a new way of thinking about man’s community life, and, last of all, a new way of thinking about the pathways of history and the destinies of the world. As St. Paul says, we must “put on the new man, which has been created according to God in justice and holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:23).
The hour has come when a pause, a moment of recollection, reflection, you might say of prayer, is absolutely needed so that we may think back over our common origin, our history, our common destiny. The appeal to the moral conscience of man has never before been as necessary as it is today, in an age marked by such great human progress. For the danger comes neither from progress nor from science; if these are used well they can, on the contrary, help to solve a great number of the serious problems besetting mankind. The real danger comes from man, who has at his disposal ever more powerful instruments that are as well fitted to bring about ruin as they are to achieve lofty conquests.
To put it in a word, the edifice of modern civilization has to be built on spiritual principles, for they are the only ones capable not only of supporting it, but of shedding light on it and inspiring it. And we are convinced, as you know, that these indispensable principles of higher wisdom cannot rest on anything but faith in God. Is He the unknown God of whom St. Paul spoke to the Athenians on the Areopagus – unknown to those who, without suspecting it, were nevertheless looking for Him and had Him close beside them, as is the case with so many men of our times? For us, in any case, and for all those who accept the ineffable revelation that Christ has made to us of Him, He is the living God, the Father of all men.
As we pray for our country, the United States of America, today, Independence Day, we thank God for the rich blessings given us, and for the great possibilities available as we live not a freedom from, but a freedom for. Mindful of the responsibilities such freedom brings we ask God to guide all those in elected office in our nation and all who serve in government, praying that their decisions may be prudent and wise fostering that just peace God asks us to build each one helping the other.