The clergy, Prof. and Dr. Mrs. Adadevoh, distinguished invited guests, the Adadevoh and allied families, the choir and the media, our theme is: ‘Peace, Progress and Prosperity’. If you consider these three elements as forming a tree, then peace is its root, progress, its stem or trunk and prosperity, its fruitful branches. If you are an architect or keen about buildings, then peace is the substructure/foundation, progress is the superstructure and prosperity represents the fittings/furnishings. In either illustration, we see that progress and prosperity depend on peace. In this message, therefore, we will spend more time talking about peace.


Several centuries before the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, a prophecy of Isaiah revealed some of His names: ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6). Here, we wish to focus on the last of these names: ‘Prince of Peace’.

What kind of peace, then, does the Saviour bring us? He brings us the serenity or harmony that is based on true justice and charity. St. Paul, thus, urges us: ‘live in …harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus…. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God’ (Rom. 15:5-7).

The Prophet Isaiah gives us a vivid picture of this harmony which characterizes peace:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain … (Isaiah 11:6-9).

If the picture of the wolf and lamb, the leopard and young goat, the lion and calf, the bear and cow, the cobra and child living in peace is not vivid enough for you, then you may think of a cat and a mouse living in harmony. Beloved, this was the kind of peace that existed in the Garden of Eden before the fall of Adam and Eve; for in Eden, none of the animals attacked others despite their proximity. And Jesus, the Word of God through Whom everything was created, is the One through Whom harmony in creation or peace on earth could be restored (cf. John 1:1-18).

No wonder, at the birth of Christ, the angels would confirm that He is the Prince of Peace. Thus, they sang to the hearing of the shepherds: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’ (Luke 2:14).

The peace of Christ is, however, a gift. That is, it is up to each of us to accept or reject it. For instance, whereas the said shepherds accepted the message of peace, King Herod and his associates preferred hatred and went ahead to kill probably thousands of innocent children. As I speak there is no peace in the land of birth of Christ. The massacre of innocent children by King Herod is sadly being repeated in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Beloved, what is our choice? Are we, like the shepherds accepting the peace of Christ, or like King Herod rejecting it? Beloved, let us be like the shepherds and accept the peace of Christ. Our celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace will be a contradiction or meaningless, if we do not strive to live in peace with others. Beloved, like the child and cobra living in peace, so should parents and children live in harmony; like the bear and cow living in peace, so should husband and wife live in peace; like the leopard and young goat living in harmony, so should siblings live in peace; like the lion and calf living in harmony, so should a boss and the subordinates or co-workers live in peace; like the wolf and lamb living in peace, so should people of different political parties live in harmony; and, let me add, like the cat and mouse living in harmony, so should the police/military and citizens live in peace.

Probably, you are still adamant about forgiving and living in peace with whoever has offended you. If that is the case, I wish to inform you that reconciling with your offenders is a way of getting used to the peace of heaven, where even former enemies will become friends forever.


With peace, the root of our three elements firmly in place, or the foundation of our building well laid, let us consider ‘progress’, the stem of our tree or the superstructural of our building.

Progress could be variously defined, but I think the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary captures its essence: ‘the process of improving or developing, or of getting nearer to achieving or completing, something’.

We can talk of personal or communal (including national and global) progress. Furthermore, on the personal or communal level, there are various sectors of progress: spiritual, socio-cultural, educational, economic, political, scientific, technological and other kinds of progress.

How then do we determine that improvement, development, achievement or completion is occurring or has taken place on the personal or communal level in any of the sectors mentioned above? For a war monger, for instance, the attainment of a nuclear bomb is technological development. But, is that how God the Creator of the universe sees it? Certainly no! For how can stem of a tree aim at the destruction of its root or how can the superstructural of a building stand at the expense of its foundation?

So, what are the key characteristics of true progress? This may require a long elaboration. However, for this evening let us decipher three key characteristics from the song the angels sang on the night of the Saviour’s birth: : ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’ (Luke 2:14). That is, genuine progress should:

  • Reveal the glory of God the Creator
  • Foster peace on earth/universe
  • Please God the Creator


All things being equal, a tree with a sound root and a healthy stem will have a fruitful branch. Similarly, a person with true peace who makes genuine progress in life will, with the grace of God, prosper spiritually and materially. The same could be said of a nation or the world as a whole.

Prosperity, like a fruitful branch, has to do with success, wealth and flourishment in various aspects of life. Once again, the Book of the Prophet Isaiah gives us a vivid picture of the prosperity which the God wishes to bless us with:

19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,    and delight in my people;no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,    or the cry of distress.20 No more shall there be in it    an infant that lives but a few days,    or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,    and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.22 They shall not build and another inhabit;    they shall not plant and another eat;for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.23 They shall not labor in vain,    or bear children for calamity;[e]for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord    and their descendants as well (Isaiah 65:19-23).


  • Summary
  • I wish you all a happy Christmas and a peaceful, progressive and prosperous New Year!

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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