“Overcome indifference and win peace” is the topic chosen by Pope Francis for the 49th World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on the first of January.
Pope Francis has often touched during his pontificate the topic of globalization of indifference and that of the culture of discard, which characterizes contemporary society. Their remedy is globalization of brotherhood and the establishment a new humanism and peace.
“God is not indifferent! Humanity matters to God, God does not abandon it!”: begins the Holy Father’s Message. And it already contains a life indication for Christians, so that they become builders of peace: overcome individualism, do not leave your brother alone, do not leave him in difficulty. Indeed, peace is “a gift from God, entrusted to all men and women who are called to put it into practice”.
There is “a third world war going on” the Pope writes. But humanity has the “ability to act together in solidarity, in recognition of our interconnectedness and interdependence, caring about the most fragile members and safeguarding the common good”. And this “attitude of solidarity through joint responsibility is at the base of our fundamental vocation to brotherhood and common life’, which is the antidote to many forms of indifference which afflict civil coexistence: “Of those who close their heart not to notice the others, who close their eyes not to see what happens around them or avoid being touched by the problems of the others”.
“The first form of indifference in human society is towards the love of God – the Pope writes – , from it derives indifference also towards the neighbor and the Created. This is one of the serious effects of a false humanism and practical materialism combined with a relativistic and nihilist thought”. “Man thinks to be his own creator, the author of his own life and society; he feels self-sufficient and aims not only at taking the place of God, but at avoiding it altogether; as a result, he thinks he does not owe anything to anyone except himself and claims to have only rights”.
There are different ways to remain indifferent. There are those who follow current events. They are apparently concerned with what is going on, but do not get involved with it in real life. “This is the attitude of those who know, but keep their gaze, thought and action focused on themselves”. Then, there are those people who do not show any interest towards reality and, above all, towards those who are suffering. They isolate in their wellbeing and comfort, remaining “deaf to the cry of pain coming from the suffering humanity”. This “indifference towards the neighbor – the Holy Father continues – daughter to indifference towards God, takes the shape of inertia and withdrawal, which feed the persistence of situations of injustice and serious social inequality. Those situations, in their turn, can lead to conflicts or generate a climate of dissatisfaction that may lead, sooner or later, to violence and insecurity”.
Behold, the Father calls us to convert our hearts” because “God is not indifferent. He is attentive and operates”. Consequently, “also the hearts of all those people who recognize one another as members of a single big family of His children” must “beat strong wherever human dignity – which is the reflection of the face of God in His creatures – is at stake”.