SILSILAH MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF ADVENT AND THE CHRISTMAS SEASON 2015 | November 24, 2015
Silsilah Dialogue Movement, faithful to its tradition to send a message to Muslims on the occasion of the month of Ramadhan and to Christians during Advent and Christmas time, reaffirms its mission of harmony, solidarity and peace in this difficult time for mankind and invites all to continue to work for the common good with courage and determination. The Advent and Christmas time is a special occasion for us to be in solidarity with Christians who recall the message of love and mercy that Jesus brought to the world as the Emmanuel, God among us. Silsilah Dialogue Movement, faithful to its tradition to send a message to Muslims on the occasion of the month of Ramadhan and to Christians during Advent and Christmas time, reaffirms its mission of harmony, solidarity and peace in this difficult time for mankind and invites all to continue to work for the common good with courage and determination. The Advent and Christmas time is a special occasion for us to be in solidarity with Christians who recall the message of love and mercy that Jesus brought to the world as the Emmanuel, God among us. The sad events around the world and the recent tragedy in Paris raise many questions that have to be addressed with wisdom and determination. In the spirit of the Advent and Christmas celebration we wish to remind all: “Do not be afraid to join with people of all cultures and religions who work with sincere hearts for the common good and for a sincere peace in our society.” Those who destroy peace today remind us the sad story of Cain and Abel, a story familiar to many, especially to the Christians and to the Muslims because it is presented in their Holy Books. From that time on many events happened in the story of humanity and the coming of Jesus in the world, in a specific time of history, remains for all a sign of hope. The time of Advent and Christmas is a great occasion to reaffirm the message of love and mercy that Jesus brought to the world. We wish that Christians reaffirm the message of Christmas guided by their faith in Jesus, that the Muslims will be in solidarity with Christians guided by their understanding of Jesus as a prophet, and people as well of other religions are invited to appreciate the message of love that Jesus brought to the world. This is the spirit of dialogue that Silsilah promotes. To be able to see and respect the differences is the beginning of a sincere dialogue that today we need to reaffirm to work together for the common good. We have to “compete only in goodness.” This is a message that we find in all religions expressed in different ways. Unfortunately, the many forms of violence today raise alarming questions: “Why can’t we solve differences in a proper way? Why do we still have to use violence? And why do some groups use religion to justify their acts of violence? Today there are many forms of violence; among the most alarming ones we can state here concern the business of illegal drugs, human trafficking, corruption in many sectors of society and many other forms of violence that are destroying the dignity of mankind. What is more alarming is that in many countries, including our country, there are supporters of those who have performed many acts against humanity , including the tragedy of Paris. Many are in the stage of “the silence of fear” and much worst, some live in “the silence of vested interest”. What is most alarming now is the “blasphemy” of some groups acting in this way “In the name of God.” Pope Francis helps us to put in context our message. He said: “We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes, all decked out , while the world continues to wage war… the world has not understood the way of peace.” Pope Francis continues his reflection saying: “What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? … What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims and lots of money in the pocket of arms dealers… Jesus once said you can not serve two masters: either God or riches.” Ending this message we wish to mention the special year of the Jubilee of Mercy that Pope Francis proposed to the Catholics and to all who believe in the power of mercy. This special year will start, on December 8, during the time of Advent this year. This is an occasion for us to revisit the message of MERCY. Pope Francis, presenting this special year says among many other touching reflections: “The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as of that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that this is a ‘visceral’ love. It gushes forth from the depths naturally, full of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and mercy.” At the end of the same document entitled “Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” Pope Francis adds: “Among the privileged names that Islam attributes to the Creator are “Merciful and Kind”. This invocation is often on the lips of faithful Muslims who themselves feel that no one can place a limit on divine mercy. Its doors are always open”. In the spirit of MERCY let us rebuild what has been destroyed in the relation among us and let us be a sign of hope for the “common house” created by God and rebuild peace among the creatures of God.