HomeCommentary‘Let us fill the six jars with Peace and Reconciliation’

‘Let us fill the six jars with Peace and Reconciliation’

Homily of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., SDB, Archbishop of Yangon

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, all the great devotees of Our Lady,

I warmly welcome you to the feet of our Lady of Consolation. After three years of multidimensional exile, we are returning to the feet of our Lady in this national Shrine. Prayerful welcome. Let all blessings be for all of you.

For the last two years, our Mother waited for us, searched for us, as she searched for Jesus who was missing in the temple. Today, as a nation, we return to our Lady, the patron of peace and reconciliation. We are returning to the Holy family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. May her outstretched hands heal you, let her soothing words heal all our physical, spiritual, economic, and social wounds.  

Our Mother is a healer. She is the Lady of Lourdes where millions are cured. She is the Velankanni Lady of Health where thousands are cured every year. Since she is the mother of the eternal healer, Jesus, let her powerful hands hold each one of you and lead you to the healing hands of Jesus. Let the blood of her son Jesus wash away all your sorrows and make you whole.

Our condition is like the suffering Jews, movingly portrayed in Psalm 122. In that Psalm, the conditions are vivid: The Jews were in peril, persecuted for their faith, displaced, starved, and always looking for the day when they could reach their holy city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not only a city, but it is a powerful symbol of peace.

The psalm says there were talks of going to Jerusalem. 

They were glad when they, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

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Yes, like the Psalmist, all the people of Myanmar were looking for the day, they could gather as a family in this national shrine for the last three years. Now we are here. Let us join the joyous melody of the Jews as sung in the same song: “Now our feet are within your gates, O Jerusalem.”

As a kind mother, whose sons and daughters were away from her, she welcomes us with outstretched arms, as the mother of consolation. She knew our suffering as the Mother of Sorrows, as the mother who stood at the foot of the cross and cradled the body of her tortured and killed son.  She knows our tears, she knows our weakness, she welcomes us with a compassionate heart to this national shrine and lets us go back healed and made whole because of her intercession to her eternal healing son Jesus our Lord. 

Let that holistic healing: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, economic, social, and national healing occur today. Mother of Health pray for our nation. Just as Jesus Christ invited us to seek our consolation in Him, when He said: “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you,” (Mt:11:28) thus also Mary holds out to us, in the midst of the sorrows of this life, the most soothing comfort: “Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.” (Eccl:24:26)

What is the message Mary give to us today? In this shrine?

Psalm 122 has a painful reverberation today. The Jewish pilgrimage was for peace. Jerusalem means “City of Peace.” Yet it had not known much peace. Some historians estimate the city has been destroyed twice, besieged 26 times, attacked 52 times, razed to the ground 13 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. History’s painful lessons enacted already in Jerusalem.

Therefore, God commanded, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), which involves praying for the city’s safety and the welfare of Israel and all its friends (vv. 7–8). Our Mother gives the same mandate: Pray for peace in this land. For the safety of our people. For food for those starving, medicine for those who are sick. As wounded people, we come to heal with prayer. If peace comes, we can return to normal life, and return home.

It is with gratefulness we all gather here, in this national Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes with the same prayer from the Psalmist:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brethren and companions,
I will now say, “Peace be within you.”

Mary is a miracle maker, we have gathered here, to ask for the miracle that she requested for her Son at the Marriage in Cana. We say, “Mary mother most holy, we cry with our extended arms, our six jars are empty of the life-giving wine of hope.” Let us pray and fill those empty six jars with the life-giving wine of hope. Let her command, “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do!” echo in this country reaching out to everyone, those in power, those who are on the run, and those who are anxious.

Six empty jars, emptied by six evils — violence, starvation, displacement, deaths, and poverty. The same six evils that visited the Israeli people visit us. Let our Lady work out the miracle of Cana, let the celebration of peace and reconciliation start in this country, in our families, and in our personal lives. Let the six jars be filled with six blessings of God: Peace, reconciliation, food, home return, human security, and community resilience.

Our faith tells us Our God incarnates himself to be part of human suffering. Like thousands of our people, Jesus emptied himself. This kenosis — the emptying, powerlessness of God is a central tenant of our faith. He is Immanuel, God with us, in our suffering, in our sorrows, in our brokenness, in our darkness, in our anxieties, our faith says, Jesus is with us. The real way of the Cross has been enacted in many parts of the world. Jesus is continuously crucified in our brothers and sisters. 

As we stand at the foot of Our Mother, she would tell us how she knows our tears because like many of us, she had suffered, she was poor, she had no documents, she had no rich relatives, when she fled to Bethlehem, she needed to stay in a stable. Only the shepherds came to visit her new-born baby. Yet amidst this, she could see the Angels singing, the message of peace given to all men and women of goodwill. Amidst those dark nights, the holy Family saw the star in the sky.

That is the challenge to which she calls us. She belonged to one of the most powerless and vulnerable families yet God, the Immanuel was with her. The heavenly choirs sang there, while the earthly powers abandoned her. That is the same mother calling each one of us by our name and saying: yes it is dark around but hold on to faith, the angels are singing the chorus of peace. Yes, everything looks bleak but faith like the star in the sky will guide us in the coming days.

She will tell many of us who are no more living in our houses, how she had to leave suddenly since the angel warned that danger to his son, she fled as a refugee. She knew what it meant to be away from home, what it meant to be living in anxiety. When she took his son for presentation, she was told by the old Simeon that seven swords would pierce her heart. She will become our lady of Sorrow, bearing seven deep wounds inflicted on her for her call to bear Jesus in her womb and her heart. We contemplate all her life mysteries in Rosary. It is very clear, like many of us gathered here, Our Lady to her great sorrows, joys, glorious and lights.  

We come here praying on the news saying: Mother most blessed, give the same strength that guided you through all through your life. She has never forgotten us, she has never abandoned us. All through history she appeared in history, in Fatima, in Lourdes, in Guadalupe and even in Chanthargone in Mandalay diocese when she appeared in the dream to identify her statute. We will never be abandoned by our dear Mother.

Yet as we sit through this very significant coming together of the faithful, like the Israel people coming back from Exile, our Lady’s message is not one of despair but one of hope. Yes, as we say in the Rosary, Mother Mary had her sorrowful mysteries, but also joyful mysteries. Despite all that she underwent in her life, she could sing the great Magnificat saying that the

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

The Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the pride in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
Lord has done marvels for me: Holy be his name.

That is what the Lord did to our Lady since she held on to faith. Last three years our faith was challenged. Rocks and mountains of problems. Yet Jesus calls us “have the faith of a mustard seed. Everything will work out for those who believe in the powerful name of Jesus and the powerful protection of our Mother Mary. She never abandons us. That is the simple message we carry back today. She was glorified for her faith, and we too will be glorified. Pray on your knees in front of her; ask her to heal your physical wounds, the economic needs, the psychological trauma, the spiritual darkness.

Jewish history is one of glory but also of suffering. They believed in Yahweh and never gave up hope. Let our journey of hope start today, my dear people. Our coming together as a nation of various tribes and people, we also pray for our nation.

This is really a blessed nation, a nation of so many resources, as we see here, a nation of so many colorful people. Our diversity is the greatest gift to us. This nation is a gift to all of us, the God who blessed so many resources above the ground and below the ground, never abandoned us.

But only one thing is missing in our history. Peace. Peace based on Justice. In the past weeks we read the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus where he talks about blessed are the peacemakers; blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice. Yes. We need Peace we need the living waters of Justice. Peace and Justice are the two eyes that will bring light to this nation.

The situation in Myanmar is complex and multi-faceted, and it is easy for Christians to become overwhelmed by the scale of the problem. But we must not despair, for peace is possible, and it begins with each one of us. We must remember that peace is not just the absence of violence, but it is a state of mind, a way of life, and a fruit of the Spirit. Peace, my brothers and Sisters is the Gift of the holy spirit. Let us get that.

We have gathered here to pray for this peace and justice, and reconciliation for all the people of Myanmar. Our Lady is called the Queen of Peace. She is rightly called the queen of heaven and earth. Let us all become peace warriors; unceasingly praying the Rosary, to dispel the darkness and suffering.

She who walked faithfully through the mission of Jesus, through the whole way of the Cross also participated in the glory of the resurrection and was assumed into heaven.  

Let us Pray :

To that Mother, to that Queen of peace, we stretch out our hands and pray

Dear Our Lady, Queen of Peace,

We pray to you today for the people of Myanmar. We ask that you bring comfort to those who are suffering and peace to a nation torn by conflict and division.

We pray for an end to violence and for the safety of all those caught in the crossfire. We ask that you give strength to those working towards justice and reconciliation and that you guide leaders to make wise and just decisions for the good of all people. Make each one of us an instrument of peace.

We trust in your loving care and intercession and ask that you bring peace to Myanmar, now and always. Amen.

I wish you all the blessings. Let this be a new beginning for each one of us, for our families, for our church, and for our nation. As a Church, we stood witness to our people’s suffering, their way of the Cross we will also bear witness to our people’s rise again in peace and prosperity. That is the faith and that is the hope we carry with us as we leave the shrine.  Mother Mary, the most blessed, pray for us, protect us.

Thank you and all blessings are with you all.

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