Russia TLIG Magazine

T R U E L I F E I N G O D 44 HisGrace,ArchbishopAnilJosephThomasCouto,Archbishopofthe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi One of the finest blessings God has bestowed on the ecumenical movement for the unity of the Church in the last over fifty years is the realization that the unity of the Church is for the unity of the whole of humankind and the integrity of God’s creation. In that sense ecumenism cannot be dissociated from the need for the Christian community to dialogue with other faiths and even ideologies in order to bring about God’s King- dom here on earth in the ful- fillment of Christ’s mandate to preach the Good News to the whole world. I am so glad that we have brothers and sisters of other faiths in this ecumenical pilgrimage and we are all walking together as co-pilgrims on our common jour- ney towards our eternal homeland. I would like to share here with all of you in this pil- grimage a recent experience from India –the wonder- ful news from Mumbai reported in the media in the aftermath of the torrential rains and resulting floods in that city and its suburbs from August 28-30. Hun- dreds of commuters were stranded due to stoppage of transport facilities – trains, buses, taxis and autorick- shaws. There was no way they could reach home. The roads had become rivers overnight. So also hundreds of people had to flee from their homes due to flood- ing. At this hour of need it was reported that the local Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, Sikh gurudwaras and Christian churches with their institutions opened their doors to welcome and accommodate as many people as they could irrespective of caste or creed; not only that, people of all religions together arranged for food and bedding for the marooned people. This was a magnificent gesture of love and unity among reli- gions for the cause of suffering humanity. It was a testimony of true spirituality that should be the hall- mark of all religions. Nobody asked for anyone’s reli- gious identity but all experienced the joy of being one humanity. One way in which we can build bridges and work for peace is by joining hands together in service to hu- manity. Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching on non-violence (ahimsa) doesn’t merely speak of avoiding violence but of active love which is the constant struggle for truth and justice (satya- graha). Gandhiji’s philoso- phy is centered on breaking down walls of division and building bridges of love, unity and peace everywhere, especially with the lowest, the least and the lost. It is so sad that human be- ings are divided on the basis of caste, class, race, tribe and creed to the point of hating one another, discriminating against one another and even killing one another. There are also wars among nations to protect one’s boundaries and “territorial integrity.” Human history has witnessed the rise of ideologies that have deified the “nation” at cost of true human values of brotherhood and sisterhood of all as all religions teach us and particularly the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Nationalism misused for political purposes is always destructive, and especially when this nationalism is tied to religion it can inter- fere with fundamental human rights and human free- dom. It is a travesty of religion when religion becomes a tool to spread hatred and violence in society and worse still when it is politicized to gain votes and win elections in the name of religion. Clearly the society becomes polarized in such cases and hatred and mistrust rule where there should be love, harmony, a sense of broth- erhood and sisterhood among peoples. I would like to refer here to the late Archbishop An- gelo Fernandes of Delhi and of happy memory, who was the founding President of the World Council for Religion and Peace and a relentless “crusader” for world peace with justice. In his book “Vatican Two Revisited” (1997) he writes: “The problem of peace is certainly the most important item on today’s agenda of How to bridge our divisions and bring peace to the world