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Bishop of Hong Kong: Lent, “walk with Jesus” by helping the poor and families

Filed under: Asia News |
HONG KONG, Mar 2, 2017–For Lent, the bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal. John Tong, addressed to the faithful the traditional pastoral letter. On the occasion, he emphasized the role of the family and marriage, as a place of construction of the person and of growth in reciprocal communion. Citing Amoris Letitia Pope Francis, Cardinal urges to have mercy on the wounded by life. Mercy does not mean accepting injustice, but have a “prophetic” role, denouncing and correcting those situations that crush the lives of individuals and families. Card. Tong mentions among them the rise in property prices in Hong Kong, as well as the working hours too long.

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ and Borelli

These words of the Bible tell us that Lent is approaching and remind us to look at life as a pilgrimage. We are seekers in mind and spirit. This journey that begins in the heart leads us to seek God’s will in our lives.

A pilgrim is not a tourist. The goal of a pilgrimage surpasses what can offer us any place we visit. It is the experience to get closer to Christ – to dwell in God – so that we can carry out the mission that God has entrusted to us.

Recently, during the Christmas period, we celebrated the joy of God in our midst . During the 40 days of Lent we must go one step further and learn how to walk with Jesus, who is God incarnate.

Our journey of conversion this Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 1. The whole Church will revive its efforts with prayer, fasting, abstinence, sacrifice and works of mercy – to prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ.

To fulfill the pastoral orientation of the diocese of marriage care, family and life, this year the preparatory commission for Lent proposes the theme Sustaining the values of family and marriage with the love of God . It also promotes various activities regarding spirituality and charity.

As the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent says, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4). For this reason, learning to walk with Christ begins with listening to the Word of God.

The Magi followed the star to find the Holy Child born in the manger; King Herod commanded the priests and scribes to search in the Hebrew scriptures the place where the new king was to be born, so the same way, if we look closely and open ourselves with humility, we will discover that God is sending us messages and lighting through people and the events around us.

Reading the Bible will give nourishment to our spiritual life and our acts of charity.

Lent and the rich liturgies of Holy Week are designed to prepare the catechumens to receive the sacraments of initiation on Easter night. They will become the sons and daughters of God, and members of the Church.

When the whole Church walks with the catechumens in this journey of faith, the faithful will experience Christ in the liturgy and the sacraments.

Let Christ guide us to walk with a firm step on the path of life and to overcome all kinds of limits and evidence to arrive safely to our eternal home in Heaven.

The conversion of our hearts pushes us also to pay attention to those around us. If we are familiar with the Word of God, we will have the strength to meet the needs of others and become a Christian who walks with others.

In addition to defending the value of marriage, family and life, the Church should also follow the exhortation of Pope Francis, who says, “the work of the church resembles that of a” field hospital ( Amoris Laetitia , 291).

The Church must also walk with the children of God weak and wounded, reconstructing their faith and hope. I ask all the parishes, schools and diocesan organizations, especially those agencies that provide social services and to listen, to study carefully  Amoris Laetitia , the exhortation of Pope Francis, and follow his pastoral councils, accompanying every couple, every family, and even every suffering individual in dealing with their problems. We should help them through their crisis and to find the way to overcome the difficulties.

In the recent Jubilee of Mercy, we did experience the merciful love of God the Father face that helps us to find the strength to renew ourselves and move on. It is clear that, only relying on the mercy of God and collaborating with the grace of God, we can continue to grow and progress in faith.

May every member of our diocese to extend the spirit of mercy and reach every needy in society, assist the frail and the poor and to be generous in supporting the many fundraising activities during Lent, serving those who are hungry and thirsty.

I would like to remind everyone that being compassionate does not mean tolerating unjust behaviors and conditions. On the contrary, the mercy of God the Father requires us to take a prophetic role, condemning clearly what hurts life, marriage and the family.

Only a most upright and equitable social environment can ensure the common good and the happiness of people. Recent studies show that Hong Kong’s long working hours and exorbitant real estate prices are rising. Everything upsets a normal family life. We pray that all areas of the territory can work together to develop social institutions that make the good of families.

The family is where a person rests and feeds, and where life has a healthy growth. May the Word of God to be the center of every family, accompanying members on the path of their lives, as they work vigorously to promote home-communion and mutual trust. In families where there is warmth and love, everyone will want to go home.

The path of the tip life to our eternal home in Heaven. There is where it really lies eternity. Let us encourage one another, we follow in the footsteps of Christ and we live – from marriage and family – care, and mutual communion.

We are messengers of love, we respond promptly to the call of God and take part in the holy goal of building the Kingdom of Heaven.

May God grant you and your families peace and thanks!” (AsiaNews)

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