Christmas and New Year Message
Dec 20, 2006
Dear brothers and sisters of the Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo,
I extend to you all my sincere wishes for a joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year.
In 2007 we will do extensive renovations to the exterior of St. Mary’s Cathedral.
I have strong feelings in my heart that together with the renovation of the Cathedral we Catholics of the Archdiocese of Tokyo have the even more important task to renew ourselves as to be born again.
I would like to live and offer this year with the spirit of the declaration expressed by Pope John Paul II for the year 2000’s Jubilee.
1. Peace with God
The Risen Lord Jesus came and stood among the disciples and said to them “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). Then He bestowed on them the Holy Spirit. We too have received the same Holy Spirit and can have the forgiveness of sins, be reconciled with God and live in the grace of God’s peace.
In this year I ask all of you to attend the liturgical celebrations with special devotion and to dedicate much time to prayer. On this occasion I recommend you also to learn well about the sacrament of penance and especially learn and meditate about God’s love, and wish that all of you may read the Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love).
2. Peace with our Neighbors
Love of God and love of neighbor cannot be separated. “He who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). Living in the Peace of God bears the fruit of peace with our neighbors. Let’s make any effort and pray that it may be a year when we can experience the joy of pardoning each other.
3. Peace with Nature
One of the biggest problems of mankind today is destruction of natural life. We mankind should pay more attention to the fact that we are existing connected to nature and living inside its grace. God has created this world and put the human being inside it. Humans praise the wonders of God’s creation through coexistence and harmony with nature, and appreciate the fact that they receive life in a deep connection with natural life.
4. Peace with Ourselves.
Every one of us is the closest neighbor to himself. We must learn to accept ourselves as we are and to love correctly ourselves.
Through the “Peace with God”, “Peace with our Neighbors”,” Peace with Nature” and “Peace with Ourselves”, let’s walk together with hope towards the “New Heaven and New Earth” (Rev. 21:1), that is the completion of the Kingdom of God.
May the 2007 be really for every one of you a year of peace and hope!
Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada
Archbishop of Tokyo