First proposal: Sharing with those around us a zest for life
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavour, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13)
To be salt of the earth is a gift from God that we want to welcome with joy. By being salt of the earth, we can communicate a zest for life. And when we make life beautiful for those entrusted to us, our life becomes meaningful.
If, faced with the great number of obstacles, we ask ourselves: “Why keep on struggling?” we should remember that just a little salt is enough to give flavour.
Through prayer, we learn to look at ourselves as God looks at us; God sees our gifts, our abilities.
Not losing our flavour means committing ourselves body and soul, and trusting the gifts of God within us.
- Can we seek for ourselves and for others what causes us to grow and leads to fulfillment?
Second proposal: Committing ourselves to reconciliation
“When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you realize that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there and first go and be reconciled to him or her.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
In all of us there is the aspiration to live together as one human family, but that does not happen by itself, neither in a family, nor with friends, nor in our cities and towns, nor between nations.
When Christians are reconciled, they become a sign in the midst of a humanity that is seeking its own unity.
There are situations where reconciliation is urgent. To commit ourselves to this, we need to understand the fears that imprison others in prejudices; we should also realize that other people may have something against us.
The Gospel calls us not to transmit around us or to the next generation resentments inherited from the past.
- Can we dare to encourage encounters between people who do not share the same ideas, the same way of life or the same religion, who do not come from the same culture or the same social background? Can we get to know one another, can we invite each other to visit? Can we find the courage to ask for forgiveness and to forgive?
Third proposal: Working for peace
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Peace is more than the absence of conflict. It is happiness; it gives everyone their rightful place; it is fullness of life. When we welcome God’s peace within us, it extends to those around us and to all creatures.
The desire for peace makes our heart more encompassing and fills it with compassion for all. It comes to expression in an attitude of hospitality and kindness in our families, in our neighbourhoods, in our daily activities.
Peace is also at the root of justice on a larger scale. In societies where luxury and poverty exist side by side, should we be surprised that different forms of violence arise? Sharing wealth relieves tensions and is a major contribution to the common good.
Some people make a commitment to promote peace by taking on responsibilities in the public life of their country — in an association, in the company where they work, by serving people with special needs.
- Can we go towards someone for whom there is no peace? How can we be particularly attentive to migrants? Can we discern situations of injustice and give protection to those who are vulnerable? Can we identify modern forms of slavery? Can we join others to pray for peace, for example by remaining in silence every Sunday evening for half an hour?
Fourth proposal: Taking care of our earth
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
The gentle are those who do not impose themselves. They make room for others. They do not monopolize the earth. Gentleness is not resignation but mastery of the violent impulses within us.
The earth is not our property. It is entrusted to us; we are called to look after it. The resources of our planet are not unlimited. We have a duty of solidarity among individuals and peoples, and for future generations.
In the way we consume and use natural resources, a good balance needs to be found between basic needs and the desire always to have more.
To find a style of life that allows sustainable development, all our skills of imagination and creativity are required. They must be put to use in daily life and also stimulate scientific research, artistic inspiration, and the invention of new projects for society.
- Can we examine the way we live and seek to simplify what may be artificial and what is excessive? Simplifying our lives can be a source of happiness. How can we open up spaces for sharing: what can we give and receive? We should not forget to praise God for creation. For this, times of rest and contemplation are essential.