Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon in Myanmar, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said hope can be found amidst the humanitarian crisis the world is facing these days.
“Hope in times of crisis … can be found in small acts of conversation and communication, appreciating one another’s differences and celebrating what we have in common,” said the cardinal in his address during the Catholic Peacebuilding Conference in the University of Notre Dame last week.
He shared his experience of being a Christian in a predominantly Buddhist society where he said he learned the culture and language that tore down barriers.
“It is in that diversity that we can find unity and through that discover hope,” he said, adding that hope can be found in seeing the image of Christ in one another and accepting and respecting differences.
In his speech, Cardinal Bo took note of the conflicts that plague the world in recent months — Russia’s “evil war” with Ukraine, North Korea’s struggle against COVID-19, the economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka, attacks on democracy in the Philippines, and the human rights situation in China and Hong Kong.
“I see the challenges and wounds across the continent,” said the cardinal. He said the “wounds” have “shaken well-established pillars of stability, foundations of tradition, accepted norms and truths and values.”
The leader of Asia’s Catholic bishops’ organization said sustaining is, however, more challenging these days because of the global crisis.
But he said hope should not be “some form of anesthesia that numbs us and makes us feel nothing.”
“On the contrary, as people of faith — and hope — we feel the pain of our world’s crises all the more, as does Our Lord,” said Cardinal Bo.
He then reminded the faithful to always accompany their hopeful actions with prayer, saying that “Never is it one or the other,” “Never just contemplative,” and “Never just be an activist.”
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