Christians and Muslims are urged to persevere in meeting, despite the differences. Initiatives of dialogue, signs of solidarity and stories of friendship between the two communities should be a source of inspiration.
Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – As it does every year, Silsilah (chain, link in Arabic) released a message of good wishes for Advent addressed to Christians and Muslims.
In it, the movement for dialogue and peace founded in Zamboanga, island of Mindanao, by PIME missionary Fr Sebastiano D'Ambra (pictured) in 1984, writes that this "is a time of great challenge for all”, adding that “It can be a great time for reconciliation."
Present in the south of the Philippines, Silsilah is foremost known for its work of raising cultural awareness, education and sharing. Its purpose is to bring together the faithful of the two religions, and rediscover the link that leads them to the One God.
“On this occasion Silsilah wishes to remind Christians to read the signs of the times that test the faith of the Christians with persecutions in many parts of the world and the increasing materialism that gradually is poisoning the real message of Jesus’ love.
Unfortunately, “Many Christians are tempted to forget the message of Jesus to ‘take up the cross every day and follow Him’ and forget that Jesus came into the world to the plan of God’s love.”
To Muslims, Silsilah “wishes to show solidarity for their pains created by those who use the name of Islam to achieve their plans with an ideology that advocates violent extremism. Indeed, good Muslims today are on trial. This can be an occasion of purification and unity among the different groups of the Ummah around the world.”
Noting the suffering of the island's population during the Marawi crisis, Silsilah renews its commitment against religious hatred and calls on Christians and Muslims not to lose hope.
Both groups are called to find inspiration in initiatives of dialogue, signs of solidarity and stories of friendship between the two communities.
“All the events of hatred and love in the life of the world and in Mindanao urge us to remind Christians that the message of Advent and Christmas is a time of friendship and peace”.
At the same time, the latter should “encourage [our] Muslim brothers and sisters to move with more courage to prove with their lives that Islam is a religion of Peace.”
“Hopefully, we can show the world that we are united,” and can remember, “beyond our differences, the Message of love of Jesus in this special time in preparation of Christmas.”