The Magi who travelled to see Jesus came from the East: the tradition sees in this geographical indication a region that today would coincide, roughly, with Iraq. That Gospel narrative resounds with surprising and poignant relevance: some Iraqis went to pay homage to a Jew.

WarsThere is only one way to have peace: to have an attitude of presenting a gift to others. Only the gift sets the conditions for bringing down every barrier … racial, linguistic, economic, as well as cultural, socio-political, and religious.

The gift requires and realizes a basic condition: looking at the other – an individual or a people that is – not as someone “different” who can harm my interests, but as a person or a culture that is the bearer of a wealth complementary to mine, and which thus enriches me.

Wars, if we examine them in depth, come about because diversity is experienced as a conflicting fact, an overlap, and an inability to encounter. On closer inspection, every war breaks out on the wave of injustices left unresolved or generated by previous wars.


The way forward or a solution which guarantees depth and durability cannot but go through the establishment of a new international order, starting from a new vision of humanity, where the ideal is that of going beyond political boundaries, where we then recognize and respect different cultures and traditions. It is a matter of coming up with a new way of thinking that leads to the discovery of the interdependence and inter-communication of countries.

We should not only be able to say “love your country,” but, in fact, “love the other person’s country as your own,” laying the groundwork for a unitary vision as our starting point rather than resorting to armed conflict.

Fr. Tonino Gandolfo
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