Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula told the Catholic faithful to pray for peace and be instruments of peace as the world crosses over a new calendar year on Saturday, Jan. 1.
Advincula said that the new year is the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Peace as well as the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
"We continue to be in solidarity with those who continue to suffer due to the pandemic and those severely affected by typhoon Odette, along with the victims of violence and armed conflicts in Myanmar and all over the world. We beg the Lord for the grace of peace," he said in his message on Friday, Dec. 31.
The Manila prelate said that peace or shalom does not only mean tranquility or absence of conflict; but rather refers to the "totality of wellness" and "the fullness of life’s blessings". He added that Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, offers people this true peace that the world cannot give.
"He also invites us to be instruments of such peace. We turn to Mary as our model peace-builder as she teaches us three spiritual virtues: welcoming, caring, and praying," Advincula said.
He also told the story of how Mary welcomed shepherds into the stable, where her newborn son lies in a manger and described the act as courageous since she and her child were in the most vulnerable position. He mentioned that Mary did not disregard the shepherds' stories but instead acknowledged them.
Advincula told the faithful that when Jesus was laid in the manger, it was like telling everyone that whatever they are in life, God will accept them and that "by a welcoming heart, Christ reconciled the world to God and inaugurated peace in the world".
"By being born of a woman, by taking on the frail frame of an infant, the Prince of Peace is asking humanity to care, especially for the most vulnerable ones," he said.
"Naghahari ang kapayapaan sa pagdadamayan, pagmamalasakit, paglilingkod, at pagkalinga, lalo na sa mga lubhang nangangailangan (Peace reigns in solidarity, concern, service, and care especially for those who are in need)," he added.
He said that Pope Francis enjoins the faithful towards a “revolution of tenderness” and a “culture of care" and that there will be no true peace if there will be some who will be cast aside or left behind.
Advincula also thanked those who never got tired of helping those who were affected by calamities, as well as the poor and the sick amid the pandemic. He also expressed gratitude for those who sacrifice for the betterment of everyone and those who continue to strive for the welfare of the country and their families. He said that these people helped build a culture of care and are signs of peace for this world.
Advincula also explained that when Mary named her son “Jesus", it was not only a sign of her obedience to the angel’s bidding that her son be given the name “Jesus”; this was also her act of prayer for Israel and for all humankind.
"The name 'Jesus,' 'Yeshua' in Hebrew and Aramaic, is usually translated as a declarative sentence: 'God saves.' But it can also be translated as a prayer: 'Lord, help!' 'God, save us!'...Yes, the name that the Blessed Mother gave to our Prince of Peace is a prayer, an ardent plea for divine assistance to intervene in our world," he said.
He added that [rayer is the most fundamental act of peace-building and that peace can only come from God and cannot be produced by mere human achievement. "'Glory to God in the highest, and peace to people of good will!' Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is God to us. Let the spirit of welcoming, caring, and praying be our resolution for this New Year. In this year 2022, may the Lord bless you and keep you and give you peace," Advincula said.