Only God, prayers can grant peace: Manila archbishop

Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula urged the faithful to pray for peace, which he said can only come from God.

In his homily during the New Year’s Eve mass of the Solemnity of Mary at the Manila Cathedral on Friday, the cardinal said prayer is the most fundamental act of peace-building.

“Peace cannot be produced by mere human achievement,” he said. “We need God to offer us the peace that this world cannot give.”

Advincula also said the Catholic Church is one with the victims of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Typhoon Odette, and armed conflicts in the world.

“We continue to be in solidarity with those who continue to suffer due to the pandemic and those severely affected by Typhoon Odette, along with the victims of violence and armed conflicts in Myanmar and all over the world. We beg the Lord for the grace of peace,” he said.

As of December 28, the Department of the Interior and Local Government estimated that about 4.2 million individuals were affected by “Odette”, 570,000 of them sheltered in 1,179 evacuation centers in six regions, 14 provinces, and 222 cities and municipalities.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said in its December 31 report that the situation in Myanmar has worsened since the beginning of 2021 when the military took over.

“The turmoil is projected to have driven almost half the population into poverty heading into 2022, wiping out the impressive gains made since 2005. It is now estimated that 14 out of 15 states and regions are within the critical threshold for acute malnutrition. For 2022, the analysis projects that 14.4 million people will need aid in some form, approximately a quarter of the population. The number includes 6.9 million men, 7.5 million women, and five million children,” the UN report stated.

Advincula said “peace or shalom does not only mean tranquility or absence of conflict.”

“Rather it refers to the totality of wellness, the fullness of life’s blessings. Ang tunay na kapayapaan ay ang ganap na kabutihan at kaunlaran ng buong tao at ng lahat ng tao (True peace is absolute goodness and prosperity of all and for all). Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, offers us this true peace that the world cannot give. He also invites us to be instruments of such peace. We turn to Mary as our model peace-builder as she teaches us three spiritual virtues: welcoming, caring, and praying,” he added. (PNA)