No to violence, yes to peace

On Aug. 9 at 7 in the evening, some community leaders from the Latino community joined Hispanic and African-American ministers at Samuel Torres Park to take a stand against violence and to pray for peace. Four hours later three young men lost their lives on Genesee Street. Another four were wounded. At that place there was a meeting also to oppose violence and pray for peace.

We can say that those responsible for the gunfire were peace enemies. We read in the first reading of the XXV Sunday that the wicked said, "Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us; he opposes our actions" (Wis 2:12). The second reading of the same Sunday says, "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace" (Jas. 3:18).

In our community there are many more that are opposed to violence and are cultivating peace.

The Bible teaches us: There is a relationship between peace and justice.

In the Gospel of the XXVIII Sunday, Jesus tells the rich man looking for eternal life, "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Then, Jesus said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God" (Mk. 10:21-25).

Then, biblical justice means to share material goods and establish a society with economic justice (the Kingdom of God).

Pope Francis in his encyclical on the environment tells us as Jesus did to the man, "The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labor on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests." (Laudato Si No. 123).

Then the disorder of the culture of relativism and what James writes "the conflicts of the bad passions that are always at war. … You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war" (XXV Sunday, James 4:1-2), offer a response to what happened on Genesee Street.

The solution is not more police, but to live in peace with all, to treat each other with respect and to share with those in need.

Father Tracy serves as senior priest at the Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish.

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