Jesus “will never abandon us,” writes Mgr John Wong in his Chinese New Year message: 16 February, start of the Year of the Dog according to the lunar calendar.
Penampang (AsiaNews) – Mgr John Wong Soo Kau (pictured), archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, issued a statement for Chinese Catholics around the world to mark the end of the Year of the Rooster and the start of the Year of the Dog on 16 February.
In his address, the prelate said “let us be filled with hope and faith for this New Year, because we know that God is with us and He will surely bless us and lead us.”
In Chinese, the barking of a dog (汪汪, pronounced wang wang) sounds like the character that corresponds to the word "prosperous" (旺, wang). Wang is also the pronunciation of the word hope (望 in Mandarin).
Playing on the meaning of these words, Mgr Wong reminded the faithful not to put their hopes for the new year in the ephemeral joy of material goods.
"[L]et us not put our focus and hope solely in prosperity and wealth,” he writes. “Jesus has come into the world to bring us new perspectives, broaden our vision, and change our thoughts and values, especially in terms of our behaviour and moral values. He has come to bring us life eternal.”
“Brothers and sisters,” he adds, “we know that we cannot attain true peace and happiness from wealth and pleasures of the world, but from a purpose-filled life”.
“[A]s the saying goes: The foundation of happiness stems from reaching out to others. For this reason, true happiness comes from serving and giving, not wealth.
“On top of that, a fulfilling life is not measured by how much we own, but by how much we have given, like Jesus who has lived his whole life in loving and serving, the total gift of self.”
In ending his message, the prelate calls on Catholics not to lose heart in times of difficulty and to put their trust in the support of Christ.
" We are bound to encounter many failures, difficulties, pains, trials, temptations and disappointments. Whatever it is, we are called to be courageous, striving continuously because Jesus is with us always. He will never abandon us. These trials and experiences will enrich our lives, leading us to a wonderful and fulfilling journey."