Christmas and New Year Message
Becoming Living Spring Water
Dec 25, 2005
To all the faithful of Tokyo Archdiocese,
On this the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus, and as we look towards the New Year of 2005, I wish to extend my greeting to all the faithful of Tokyo Archdiocese. I pray that you will be all greatly blessed with health and happiness by our Lord God.
As we look back on the year 2005, we are struck by an event of great significance for the Catholic Church. That is of course, the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. As we continue to follow the teachings of Pope John Paul, I know that we will exert ourselves in the work of evangelization under the guidance of his successor Pope Benedict XVI.
In Tokyo Archdiocese, there was as well an event of great significance for us. That was the consecration of Bishop Kazuo Koda as auxiliary bishop, a special blessing which I sincerely give thanks for.
The establishment of the Catholic Mission Districts in the Archdiocese began in 2003. As we enter the fourth year of this program, we need to evaluate these new structures and look at ways for making improvements.
In this coming year it will also be necessary for us to move forward with the three designated diocesan priorities, which are the training of lay people, the pastoral care and support for foreigners, and the support of those who suffer spiritual and mental injury and illness.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke about ‘the wilderness that exists within our current world’ in his sermon at his papal consecration.
Within our hearts, and also within the world, there does exist a desolate wilderness. The church must become an oasis within this parched wilderness. We aim to make Tokyo Archdiocese such an oasis. Because of the desire that our churches would truly become oases in the wilderness, be places where living spring waters would burst forth, we started the new church structures of mission districts and designated diocesan priorities.
The well springs of the oasis are the living waters given us through the blessings of God and the breath of the Holy Spirit. Whether as individuals or as church, we desire that we will act as living water to the world bringing healing, enrichment, renewal, assistance and encouragement.
In order to achieve this, what must we do? If we just ask God and do nothing ourselves, then we have truly become self absorbed. We need the courage and determination to change and to offer ourselves for service to others.
What part of you are you willing to offer to God? What aspect of you are you going to change? These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves: the challenge for the coming year. In this new year, let us change something about ourselves and offer some part of ourselves to the service of God, so that we can become living spring water for a parched world.
Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada
Archbishop of Tokyo