Learning to be a person of goodwill PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 December 2014 11:07



A photo accompanied the  news in the papers about the incident  in Peshawar, Pakistan. The women in the photo were dressed as though part of a tableau and at  this time of the year most likely a tableau about the birth of Christ.  But the emotion shown in the faces of the women was not of joy as we would expect in a Christmas  tableau but of deep sorrow and anguish. The photo accompanied the news about the grisly massacre  of some 140 people in a school,  only about 9 were adults and the rest students  ranging in age from 15 and under.

The report said that the Taliban attacked the  school in retaliation for the Pakistani military operation that saw the death of several Taliban members. Anger at the death of comrades in arms I can understand and  carrying out a revenge is also understandable. But it is  beyond understanding for me  that the revenge was taken out on school children rather than soldiers of the Pakistani  military. Still another aspect difficult to understand was to read the statement of one of the survivors  that “Allah is the greatest” was shouted out by some of the assassins even as the massacre was carried out.  How can Allah be praised while doing what Allah prohibits?

While contemplating the state of the world – with all is violence and mass killings- at this time of the year when we commemorate the birth of  Christ I could not set aside what the angels announced: “Peace to men of goodwill”.

I believe that is the challenge that we have to answer if peace is to be ours in this world in this time – to become people of goodwill.

I remember the catechism I learned as a child: Man was made in the image and likeness of God to know , love and serve Him. If we are all made in the image and likeness of God, when we see another human being then we see God and we are to love and serve that “other”.  In short we are called to demonstrate goodwill towards people we come in contact with.

What does goodwill mean?  Several meanings are given in the dictionary but the common elements of goodwill are kindness, benevolence and concern. Surely mowing down 142 innocent people as an act of revenge is anything but goodwill.

Peace does not generate goodwill in people. Instead it is goodwill that results in peace. We may not arrive at a world where we all worship one God but the different religions we follow teach of a God who is benevolent, loving  and kind to man. If we truly follow Him then we try to be like Him.

Merry Christmas!