Silsilah Message for Advent and Christmas Time
Advent is a time of “preparation” for the coming of Jesus, the Emmanuel (God among us). This event is still recalled not only by the Christians, but also in the counting of time in the Gregorian calendar, used in most parts of the world, although different religions use special calendars to recall major religious events. For the Catholics, in fact, the beginning of the liturgical calendar starts with Advent. For the Muslims, the Hijrah calendar starts with the month of Muharram.
Muslims and Christians in Silsilah always highlight the beginning of the Month of Ramadhan and the Advent and Christmas time with a special message to share greeting and solidarity. This signs of friendship and joy for the two different celebrations can help to educate our people to appreciate also what is dear to others.
The coming of Pope Francis to the Philippines in 2015 is for us, on this occasion, an opportunity to remember another joyful event for the Catholics that the Muslims in Silsilah welcome. The Muslims too respect the Pope as one of the World leaders of Peace. This double preparation/Advent and Christmas time and the visit of the Pope looks ahead with hope in the midst of violence in the Middle East and also in the Philippines. This reminds us that in their respect for the Pope a group of 138 Muslim scholars of the
world in 2007 wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders of the world. At the beginning of this open letter we read: “Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world”. This letter continues focusing on the love of God and love of neighbor in Islam and Christianity.
May Jesus the “Prince of Peace” remind us His message of love that for the Christians is the love of God who came into the world through Jesus Christ the Emmanuel to share love up to the cross and the resurrection and for the Muslims a love of Jesus as prophet. May the difference in belief about Jesus not divide us, rather help us to rediscover the mystery of the love of God that goes beyond the paradigm of the faith we believe.
May we continue to respect and love each other, praying for those who, in the name of their faith, oppress and kill others. And may the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in the spirit of “Mercy and Compassion” touch our hearts in this Advent and Christmas time and make our experience of Christian-Muslim dialogue an inspiration for many in the ongoing efforts to find solutions of Peace in Mindanao and in many parts of the world.
Silsilah Dialogue Movement