1st January is the World Day of Prayer for Peace, a day instituted by the UN and also accompanied by the Pope, who for the past 56 years on this occasion has published a message inviting people to pray for peace.

This year the message focuses on the theme of the pandemic, with the title “‘No one can be saved alone’. Starting afresh from Covid-19 to trace paths of peace together.”

The Pope says that the Covid has destabilised our daily lives, changing our plans and habits, generating disorientation and suffering, especially because of the many deaths, but he also adds that the disease has taught us the importance of human brotherhood: no one, in fact, can save himself alone.

In a text of just over two pages, dated 8 December, the Pope began by assessing the damage and public health benefits caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has paralysed the planet for the past three years.

The Pope specifically mentions the “millions of illegal workers” who have been out of work and without support during the lock down. He also refers to the resentment of many individuals and families when they faced ‘long periods of isolation and various restrictions on their freedom’.

However, according to the Pope, the global health crisis was also an opportunity for positive discoveries such as a return to humility, a reduction in consumerism and a renewed sense of solidarity. Indeed, “the greatest lesson” justify by the covid “is the realisation that we all need one another, that our greatest treasure, and at the same time (also) the most fragile, is human brotherhood,” Pope Francis stressed in his message.

But looking at the current geopolitical situation, it almost seems as if the importance of feeling ‘together’ to think of ‘us’, rediscovered thanks to the pandemic, has been obscured by the new reality of war, which, although localised in a precise area, nevertheless has the power to heavily influence the whole of humanity. A new virus, that of war, is oppressing humanity: this time, however, the vaccine will be very difficult to find.

What, then, are we asked to do? First of all, to let our hearts be changed by the emergency we have experienced, that is, to allow God to transform our habitual criteria for interpreting the world and reality through this historical moment. We can no longer think only of preserving the space of our personal or national interests, but must think of ourselves in the light of the common good, with a communitarian sense, that is, as an ‘us’ open to universal brotherhood. We cannot pursue only the protection of ourselves, but it is time we all committed ourselves to the healing of our society and our planet, creating the basis for a more just and peaceful world, seriously committed to the pursuit of a good that is truly common.

This is my wish for the new year 2023, may it be a year of peace