By Fr. Gerald Curry, S.F.M.
September 1999

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In the Gospels Jesus greets his disciples with the words, "Peace be with you." (John 20:21) He tells them to greet others in the same way: "As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it." (Matthew 10:12-13)

As human beings there is nothing we desire more than peace. It is the greatest gift we can give to others and the greatest gift we ourselves can possess. This greeting of peace means well-being, security, life, harmony, a sense of life in its fullness, of life in abundance. All is in right order with self and with the world. Peace is the most profound, the ultimate, greeting we can give.

In greeting the other with peace, Jesus teaches us that nothing less will do, that the dignity of the other as a human being demands that we approach in peace and with peace. For Jesus, each person is a child of God.

This dignity as human beings is the basis of human rights. Fifty-one years ago, on December 10, 1948, the United Nations issued its Declaration of Human Rights based upon the dignity of the person. Its first of 30 articles claims that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

"Human rights, Catholic social teaching, the fight against poverty, how we vote-all are things that make for peace."

In this issue we see human dignity mirrored in the basic principles of Catholic social teaching and in the agenda of the in common campaign against poverty. Human rights are the basis of Choosing a Government, a list of principles issued by the Ontario Catholic bishops and meant to serve as a guide for people when they choose a political candidate and party.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus addresses the city of Jerusalem: "If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!" (Luke 19:42) Human rights, Catholic social teaching, the fight against poverty, how we vote-all are "things that make for peace." When we overlook these "things" or set them aside we fail to build peace, we fail to make it possible for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters to live in peace.

Articles by Scarboro missionaries Frs. Joseph Curcio, Gary McDonald, and Charles Gervais, and lay missionaries Karen Van Loon and Tom Walsh, relate experiences where "the things that make for peace" are denied very ordinary people for whom there is no peace.

Our first article is an update by Mark Hathaway on the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative and the Jubilee 2000 Debt Campaign featured in last September's issue of Scarboro Missions magazine.

This issue is a tribute to Fr. Harvey Steele who passed away on April 9 of this year. Fr. Harvey gave his life and energies to help the poor of Latin America. His motivation was a deep love for them, a belief in their dignity as human beings. His greeting to them was peace and his struggle was for "the things that make for peace."

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