STANDING TOGETHER: A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions Posted February 26, 2022 by admin@interfaith

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February 26, 2022

A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.

The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;
so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.
Sirach 27: 6
The events happening in Ukraine are heart-breaking, unjust, and inhumane. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, threatens the well-being and safety of thousands of Ukrainians. We would do well to pay attention to his strategy and rhetoric, as he seeks to dehumanize the people of a neighboring state for his own selfish ambitions.
The Book of Sirach powerfully illustrates how the care of a tree can produce good fruit in the proper season. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Mr. Putin would have us believe Ukraine does not and should not exist as an independent state. He is now in the process of rewriting history as he engages the first steps of dismantling a Nation. His actions are a threat to the World. Would-be dictators, nationalists, and autocrats are waiting in the wings to see if they can follow suit if Mr. Putin has his ways.
Some suggest Ukraine is too far away to be of any concern to us. On the contrary, aggression threatening people’s lives is never too far away to be of our concern. The World has become smaller, and our responsibility for one another grows day by day. We must confront the voices in our own land, enabling the Russian Government’s aggressions. 
Appealing to the image of a well-cared-for tree in Sirach, we must become aware of the history informing this moment as we stand up for what is right and just. Our information must come from reliable and honest sources. We must not allow anyone to use this moment as an opportunity for political advancement at the expense of human life.
Our speech must be “bent” in the direction of justice, reflecting our willingness to defend the rights of all people to live in peace. The Charter of The Parliament of the World’s Religions reminds us: “It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity.”
Like Sirach’s tree, we must water our roots with compassion, understanding, and truth if we would bear the good fruits of justice and peace. We offer our prayers for the people of Ukraine as we pledge to do all we can to support policies and actions, assuring their rights to live in peace with their human dignity intact.
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for all the times you witnessed to what is true and just. We stand together with the people of Ukraine and all others suffering aggression and dehumanization.