The archbishop reiterates Pope Francis’s message of peace and love. Economic, social and political wounds continue to make the nation bleed. He calls for reconciliation in Rakhine and Kachin states and actions against economic exploitation.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – Card Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, issued his Christmas message a few weeks after Pope Francis’s historic visit to his country.
In it, the prelate notes that “If God can reconcile with humanity through His Son, we too can reconcile with one another.”
Citing the pontiff’s appeals for reconciliation, he addresses several important issues that have recently placed Myanmar at the centre of world attention.
For Card Bo, the situation of ethnic Kachin Christians, victims of a long-standing conflict with the Myanmar army, the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine, and the controversial Sino-Myanmar Irrawaddy dam project have wounded the country. To heal, the latter must "implement an agenda of love and peace".
The archbishop of Yangon, who is the first Myanmar cardinal in history, is one of the country’s most courageous and authoritative voices on human rights, religious freedom, inter-faith harmony and peace. His Christmas message follows.
My Dear Country Men and Women,
A very blessed Christmas Wishes to all of you. Let all beings be soaked in peace.
2017 has been a momentous year for the Christians and the people of Myanmar.
Pope Francis, the apostle of Love and Peace, graced this nation with his pastoral visit, reaching out to the church in the margins, bringing great joy and celebration. Despite all the challenges he visited all stake holders in the country, urging all to continue the pilgrimage of peace.
He has left to the church and the nation an urgent task: Heal the wounds, seek comprehensive reconciliation, repay hatred with redemptive love.
In the mystery of Incarnation, the core message of Christmas is to reconcile the wounded humanity with God and with one another. The Angels sang in the First Christmas: Peace to all people on Earth. We as a nation need to heal the known and hidden wounds. War rages in many areas. Thousands of Kachins will have their seventh Christmas as refugees in their own land. People who thrive on narratives of hatred, wound our brothers and sisters with war, displacement and poverty making a country with such blessed natural resources, one of the poorest in the world. Economic wounds, Social wounds, political wounds continue to bleed the nation. Recent events have put the nation challenged by international community. We need to implement the agenda of Love and Peace!
We can overcome. If God can reconcile with humanity through His Son, we too can reconcile with one another. Peace need to become the common religion of this nation. Exploitation of external forces need to stop. Irrawaddy is a sacred river to the people of Myanmar. She is our mother. To make her a commodity and sell her very womb as a dam is to wound her, deprive thousands of her sons and daughters their very livelihood. Natural resources do not belong to corporates and nearby countries. It is a sacred heritage of our people. Exploitation of resources is the main cause for our wounds, wars, mutual hatred and displacement. Peace based on healing of the wounds is possible
Genuine Peace is built on Love. This is the message of Pope Francis’ visit. Compassionate love needs to become the common religion of this nation. Religions need to come together for peace. Those who seek hatred in the name of religions lack Love.
Let us creatively visualize a nation of hope. Christmas is that season hope. I pray for blessings on each one of us, that we can mobilize our spiritual instincts towards building Myanmar as a nation of opportunity, peace, love and healing to all of us.
Blessed Christmas and Prosperous New Year!