CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

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The call of the moon

The moon is a powerful influence on our world. It commands the mighty oceans to rise and calls them to withdraw, as well as being a source of light to those who venture out at night and providing guidance to ships that bob on the high seas.

It is also a subject of wonder for poets, a mellow gift to young lovers and a bedeviled curiosity for scientists.

While the sun may measure the seconds, minutes, hours and days, the moon measures the passing of months and years, hiding its face before its peep signals a new passage of time and, as the winter begins to thaw, a new year.

It then commands a holiday, festivities and rejoicing, as its promise of the coming warmth of spring with its soft rains brings hope to human hearts of new life in the earth, calling families together.

In China, the exodus from the workplace has stretched the nation’s transportation system to its limits, as exhausted bodies and spirits gather to be rejuvenated in the hearth of the family, the sanctuary where people can be who they are and not have that feeling tempered by the way they think others perceive them.

At least that is the dream, which like any other dream, only comes true with hard work.

Nevertheless, people do regard it as a time of new beginning, a time of reconciliation over wrongs and misunderstandings past, as well as a time to move forward.

The holiday, the public celebrations, the feasting and rest, coax the story-telling. Family gatherings are a time to tell stories, both the stories that unite and those that divide, as new beginnings demand understanding, which only comes with frank admissions given to caring ears.

So indeed is our world, our country, our Church and our very selves. All are marked with the divisions that demand reconciliation, but first the stories must be told in the warm hearth of caring ears.

We come to this Lunar New Year in China with a Church at loggerheads with the government, with a Church that is divided by history and distorted memories of the past, often more recognised in the perception of others than the reality.

We come to this Lunar New Year in Hong Kong with anger in the workplace over employment conditions, interference in government and legal systems and so-called mainland invasions, with each group hunkering down in defence of its own ground, shunning calls to listen to the plight of others.

We come to this Lunar New Year with the long sought after unity among Asian nations shattered by territorial disputes, power posturing and trade wars, as well as bulking up of fences rather than sharing of resources.

It is easy to forget that just as the sun shines and the rain falls on each and every one alike, so the moon calls each and every person into the hearth of humanity, as a reminder that the resources of this world exist for the common good of all and are intended by the creator to be shared for the benefit of all.

The Lunar New Year is a time of being together, a time of reconciling differences in the big family of the world, not just our own little brood. It is a time to understand our neighbour, end prejudice and commit to cooperation. JiM