.In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the One Triune God. Amen.
“You crown the year with your bounty, abundance flows wherever you pass, the desert pasture overflows, the hillsides are wrapped in joy.” (Psalms 65:12-13)
Dear priests and religious,
Dear Faithful, and
All people of good will,
First of all, I wish all Ethiopians peace and health for the New Year, 2015 on behalf of the Ethiopian Catholic Church and myself. I congratulate you all for in God’s grace we have passed from the Year of St. Mark to the Year of St. Luke. May the love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
“But I have not yet found this, nor am I now perfect, but I will run forward to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” My brothers! But I do not think that I have made this thing my own; But I will do one thing, forgetting what is behind me and reaching forward to catch what is in front of me.” (Philippians 3: 12-13)
Dear brothers and sisters,
Time is a gift from God. Let us receive it with a spirit of thanksgiving. When we realize that time is a gift, we make the most of it. Without time we can do nothing. The owner of time is God Himself. When the Eternal God created us, He made us walk in time and space, and gave us time and space. We may worry that time has passed, but prayer frees us from this kind of worry. Because to pray is to talk with the eternal. It also saves time. We also save time when we work for peace. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brought together the eternal and the temporary in his birth, and gave us eternal peace and rest and hope in his resurrection.
Just as the new year invites us to give thanks, it should also call us to repentance. Repentance means returning to God. We would be wrong to say that we do not need repentance. How much have we all learned in the past year? How much have we grown in understanding? To answer these questions, we need an examination of conscience. Therefore, let’s examine our conscience with a calm mind instead of emotions. New year is an opportunity for us to evaluate the value we give to listen to each other.
We use our time when we are able to accept the responsibility for the past and the present. We save time when we become instruments of peace. Peace starts from our thoughts. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is for everyone. “Thou shalt not kill” means respect the life of all people. This order applies not only to members of your association, to members of your family, to members of your ethnicity, but to all human beings.
Our conversation should lead to peace. The gospel teaches us that our speech should heal wounds and lead to reconciliation and unity. Conversations that bring hatred and unnecessary competition hurt us. Words that abuse brothers and sisters should be avoided at home, at work, at schools and specially from social media. Rather, peaceful dialogue that prioritizes the common good benefits us all. Speaking is effective when it is with listening. Listening is a great blessing. What we think is right may not be right. What we have been hearing since childhood may be flawed, may need treatment. The perfect remedy for this is the grace of listening. A wise person is he who knows that he does not know.
Realizing that time is God’s gift leads us to humility. Humility is the queen of spirituality. Humility shows us the invisible. She leads us to the truth, and the truth is found in humility and perseverance. Humility allows us to see things from different angles. It is stated in the Gospel that “the truth will set us free.” (John 8:32).
New Year is given to us to love. It is a great grace to work for the common good. It is a great gift from God. If this is the case, let alone the people of our country but the creatures will also be happy. May the great Golden Rule, guide us all. It is a law or a principle of life that says, “treat others as you would like them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12).
We don’t like being displaced, so let’s not make others displaced. We don’t want to starve, so let’s not make others starve. We don’t want to be poor, so let’s not make others poor. We don’t want to be marginalized, so let’s not let others be marginalized.
The Golden Rule can then be expressed as follows: “treat others as you would like them to treat you”. This law can also be interpreted as love. Love makes time worthy. It prettifies the age and gives blessings.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our country is in an internal war, in the new year, our church implores all parties to give space for peace and reconciliation, to sit down for dialogue to save their country and people from destruction, for war is distructive and no body could benefit from it. We entrust the believers to be diligent in prayers so that God may grant us peace.
I would like to request you all to remember your brothers and sisters who are in need during the occasion of the New Year feast. We should support and help each other as much as we can.
In the new year, schools are opened. When students start schools and continue their studies, they should remember God’s word, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God” (Proverbs 1:7). Honor your teachers as you would honor your father and mother. I wish all the parents, principals, teachers, administration staff and students a very happy academic school year.
Finally, I wish to all the people of our country at home and in abroad a happy and prosperous year. I pray for God’s mercy for the people who are sick in hospitals and at homes, for a release of legal prisoners, for our brothers and sisters in conflict zones and for our spiritual children, may God bring peace to you all.
Let us have a time of peace, health, love, blessings, listening, dialogue, harmony, empathy, understanding and wisdom.
May God bless our country, Ethiopia and protect her!
† Berhaneyesus D. Cardinal Souraphiel C.M.
Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop
President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia