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International Mass on the 12th International Day
April 21, 2002
Dear friends in Jesus Christ,
Today we are celebrating our 12th International Day 2002.
The theme is "Make me as an instrument of peace."
We know this prayer very well. This is known as the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
Now let us remind ourselves of the words of this prayer and make a brief meditation on this magnificent prayer.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon,
where there is doubt, faith,
where there is despair, hope,
where there is darkness, light,
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
It is a fundamental duty for us Christians to work for peace. Our Lord Jesus Christ said; Happy are those who work for peace. They will be called God's children! (Matt.5/9)
The whole life of the Lord was dedicated to bringing peace to people; he sacrificed himself on the Cross, for the salvation and peace of every nation.
St. Francis is one of those who best understood the teaching of Jesus on peace and in putting it into practice. This prayer may have been born from the life of St. Francis himself.
A spirit of hatred and revenge does not coincide with the teaching of Christ that everybody should be a peacemaker.
St. Paul says in the Letter to the Romans:
If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good.
Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.
Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God's anger do it. For the scripture says, "I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord."
Instead, as the scripture says: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn by shame."
Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.
Dear friends, we must admit that we human beings find ourselves in a very difficult situation. Peace is being threatened continually. We must keep building and working for peace always and everywhere.
So I ask you all that we should make this festival not only a wonderful occasion for encounter and mutual understanding beyond the differences of nations and culture, but also an important occasion for us to work for peace and strengthen our commitment to peace.
Let us pray that our Lord may grant us this power and courage through the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Peter OKADA Takeo Archbishop of Tokyo