Russia TLIG Magazine

T R U E L I F E I N G O D 70 His Grace Archbishop Martin S. Jumoad Archbishop of Ozamis, Philippines Good day to each and everyone! I am asked to speak on a topic entitled: “How to bridge our divisions and bring peace to the world.” I do not claim to be the expert on this and in fact, in my daily life, I struggle to live with it. Allow me to bring to your attention the first book of the Holy Book of the Christians, particularly in Gen. 2:18-24. Here we are told that God created man and woman in His image and likeness. They are not set apart in isolation but in harmony with each other - where there is an assurance of freedom (in the garden), various possibilities for food (the trees of the garden), work (the command to cultivate), and above all com- munity (the gift of someone who is like himself ) Gen 2: 18-24. However, through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin entered into the world. This was exacerbated with man’s refusal to accept his condition as creature with the episode of the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9). In the divine plan, all people had “one language” and the same words but humanity became divided, turning its back on the Creator. But the Almighty has never turned away from us. He sent men and women to guide us to the path of righteousness so that we may live in peace, harmony, love, understanding, etc. among ourselves. The mission to preach peace, harmony, love, under- standing, etc. rests on each and everyone of us. The following are areas where we concretize the “bridging of our divisions” and attain peace: 1. In the family, parents must teach their children to be merciful and forgiving Last November 30, 2016, I left my former assignment where I spent 33 years i.e. 19 years as priest and 14 years as Bishop of the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan, and as- sumed as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Ozamis. I mention this because Basilan before 1972 was peaceful; it is a place where both Christians and Muslims lived together harmoniously. However, when Islam funda- mentalists in the early 80’s from Afghanistan came to Basilan teaching Muslims to hate the Christians, the relationship between Muslims and Christians became bad. Now, the bias is heightened due to painful ex- periences which led to killing each other. Basilan is in Mindanao where both Muslims and Christians are suspicious of each other. This must stop. It can be healed when parents of every family, whether Christian or Muslim, will tell stories to their children about how they lived in the past when there was peace, mercy, love and forgiveness in the community. We must remember that it is in the family in which a child receives his first formative ideas about truth and goodness. It is in the family where a child learns what it means to love and to be loved. Parents must tell stories to their children on how to strengthen the bond of peace and harmony in- stead of telling stories that ignite hatred and vengeance. There is high hope we can bridge the division and at- tain peace if parents mirror their lives to their children about mercy, forgiveness, love, respect, harmony, under- standing, cooperation and unity. 2. Another area that can bridge our division and bring peace to the world is through works of Charity or works of kindness Why can’t kindness be our way of life? Deep within there is the instinct to help and reach out to offer a helping hand. Deep within ourselves also there is a tiny voice that tells us to wait, otherwise if there are problems you will be held accountable. In Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines, the Maute (ISIS affiliated) wanted to establish an Islamic State and as a result there isWar in that portion of Min- danao and Martial Law was declared last May 23, 2017 until December 31, 2017. There were many casualties on the part of the Maute terrorist group and as well as on the side of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. There were also civilians who died in this war. When it happened, last May 23, 2017, there were students who were trapped because it was the enrolment period for schools. There was a Christian student who was inter- viewed by the media and he thanked a Muslim student How to bridge our divisions and bring peace to the world