Christmas Message from Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom DD
Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan.
‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ This Bible text about peace taken from John 14: 27 is the fundamental inheritance given us by Jesus. It is this ‘peace’ that holds all mankind together, faithful and all others alike.
As we approach the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let each and every one of us express our hope of peace. The Kingdom of God is indeed the Kingdom of peace. May we use every opportunity granted us to share the Lord’s love and blessings in promoting peace within the family, the community and the society at large.
In the earlier part of the year, the impounding of some 35,000 sacred Alkitab and the controversy over the importation and distribution of the Malay Bibles which contained the word ‘Allah’ had caused some ‘uneasiness’ among the faithful. The raid by JAIS enforcers on a church in Damansara Utama over the baseless allegations of proselytizing some Muslims was upsetting. Such pressing issues actually hinder national integration and unity. It is contrary to the much preached concept of 1 Malaysia.
As peace loving people and bearers of hope, we continuously pray that those in authority practice genuine justice and love in resolving such issues. ‘The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.’ Psalm 33 : 5, and if we nurture and build on it, the people will co-exist harmoniously and peacefully in this fertile land, our nation, Malaysia.
All is not lost for in every cloud there is a silver lining. Malaysia has established formal relations with the Vatican paving the way for cultural and inter-religious dialogues for the promotion of peace and justice. It is these peace and justice that will contribute to the promotion of mutual respect, understanding and bridging differences, a pertinent element in nation building.
In this festive season of Christmas, our focus should not only be on the exterior colorful neon light decorations but more so, on the light of Christ. We really need to put Christ in the centre of our celebration and conscious of the many blessings granted us in abundance. The blessings we share with family members and loved ones should instill in us the desire to reach out and touch the hearts of those in need within our neighborhood, community and across the globe.
We ought to use every opportunity during this season to share the Lord’s love and blessings with those who are in need. ‘Whatever you did unto one of the least brethren of mine, you did it to me’ Matt : 25 : 35, we are called to serve with a humble and loving heart to the poor, marginalized and the oppressed. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta adopted ‘You Did It to Me’ as the Gospel of the five fingers as her fundamental values and action in reaching out to the poorest of the poor. Another best known saying of Mother Teresa is ‘The fruit of love is service and the fruit of service is peace’, thus we will be able reap the true joy of service and creating peace if we commit to reach out to the poor.
May the blessings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be upon all of us this Christmas and through the coming New Year.