Bishop Bryan Bayda’s message for peace in Ukraine.
Global day of prayer for peace in Ukraine.
As this is being written, Ukraine continues in global news headlines: Russia is poised to invade our homeland beyond its unceasing aggression in Eastern Ukraine and takeover of Crimea.
We pray, as our people have done steadfastly through untold historical atrocities. We pray and we hope. How is this possible?
The Gospel reading this Sunday speaks of hope in Christ. God is with us when we strive for dignity, justice, peace. Ukraine’s Maidan has shown the world that this is what our people live for; this is what they represent. And this is why Ukraine is persecuted. Ukrainian freedom is a threat to Russian oppressive rule. Pope Francis writes of hope as rooted in every human heart:
“Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfillment, a desire to achieve things that fill our heart
and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love… Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile” (Fratelli Tutti)Too often we still fall into the notion that suffering is divine punishment, yet again and again the Beatitudes remind us that God is with those who suffer as much as with those who do not: the disadvantaged, the hungry, the disheartened, and persecuted. As we continue to strive towards a deep conversion we know that keeping hope alive, as we do all we can to help one another is an integral process in realizing the Kingdom of Heaven here and now. We, with Ukraine, must continue to help each other to carry light, the light of Christ, in the darkness.
It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.—Martin Luther King, Jr.