Seasonal Reflection: Ordinary Time, 2015

Reflecting on Peace

Here we are again in that time between Christmas and Lent that the liturgical calendar calls “Ordinary.” In a way it is a freeing time when there is no specific focus on a particular spiritual event. In this case, it is an opportunity to reflect on Pax Christi, itself.

Those who know Pax Christi know that it is not a one-issue organization or movement. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. As an advantage it allows us to address many different issues as they call us to attention, but that is also its disadvantage because there are so many important issues that we simply cannot address with our very limited resources. For example, there are such global issues as terrorism in the Middle East, Paris, and Nigeria and such local issues as racial conflict between communities of color and law enforcement. How does a small organization do justice to both? Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) has two Ordinary Time events that strive to answer that question, along with a newsletter filled with articles that stretch from New York City to Vienna, Syria, and Beijing.  

Within PCMNY is the vibrant local group, Pax Christi Maryknoll. Pax Christi Maryknoll is hosting Pax Christi USA’s anti-racism workshop, “Brothers and Sisters All,” on the weekend of January 30th-31st, right in the middle of Ordinary Time. (See KeruxLive while the opportunity to register is still with us.) The workshop explores a faith-based understanding of anti-racism rooted in Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching and offers an opportunity to grow Pax Christi as an anti-racist community reflective of our very diverse Church. In the current issue of our newsletter, Kerux, on page 2, we offer another reflection that even more directly relates the recent incidents in Ferguson and New York City to our faith and suggests ways to de-escalate the tension.

Then, still in Ordinary Time, PCMNY is hosting a play about Etty Hillesum, simply called Etty. (See our Events page for more information.) Etty was a young Dutch Jewish woman who wrote prolifically as the Nazis gradually, but forcefully denied the Jewish population more and more freedoms until deportation to the concentration camps and the gas chambers was all that was left to do. Etty did not survive, but her writings did, and they reveal a strength, wisdom, and faith that is remarkable in the face of such horrific persecution. Sadly, we know that such hatred, oppression, and violence did not end with WWII, making Etty’s story as relevant today as it was 70 years ago. Sharing Etty’s story and its re-manifestations observed in contemporary violations of human dignity by nuclear-weapon states, indiscriminate drone attacks, and persistent sexual inequity in some parts of the world, as reported in Kerux, are other ways that PCMNY hopes to attend to the plethora of realities that assault the Peace of Christ.

As a matter of fact, it could be said the PCMNY is a one-issue organization, and that issue is the Peace of Christ. Please join us in this freeing season of Ordinary Time to help make the Peace of Christ the issue of the new year.




A Hebrew Peace Prayer

Eternal wellspring of peace—

May we be drenched with the longing for peace

that we may give ourselves over to peace

until the earth overflows with peace

as living waters overflow the seas.

by Marcia Falk in The Fire of Peace published by Pax Christi USA



Suggested Actions


    - Use this Ordinary Time to choose an issue that is close to your heart and commit to working on it in such a way that the Peace of Christ takes root in it and grows throughout the year. Be specific. A few suggestions include: Read to know more. Speak to educate others. Write letters. Sign petitions. Make phone calls to Congress people when relevant. Pray. March. Boycott. Volunteer.

    - While time allows, register for the “Brothers and Sisters All” workshop.

    - Attend Etty and bring friends on February 8th. Then, read Etty’s diary and letters available in libraries and from book dealers everywhere.


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