“Be Strong and Take Courage”
Dear Fathers, respectful Chaldean sisters, diocesan men and women,
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ
The theme of the next diocese Youth Convention in Melbourne from 19 to 21 January 2018 is a text taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, in which the Lord speaks to His people and says, “Be strong and take courage” 31:6. This word of God to his people came at a time when the people faced many difficulties in the journey in the desert of Sinai in their journey towards the Promised Land. This same speech includes an explicit call to move forward with the courage of faith despite any obstacles to achieving the goal pursued by believers in their journey.
Strength and courage mean strong commitment to what is required by faith in God through first knowing the foundations on which this faith is built on, and secondly gaining the courage to declare it in every way in life. These two qualities seem to be very necessary today in our lives, as Eastern Christians living in a new land, new country and new society, which differ in many details from what we have been raised on in our Eastern societies. There are many positive things in our new home, and there are many challenges that we need to face them with courageous attitude.
The birth of the Lord Jesus this year urges us to listen to the words of God – like our dear youth – saying to us, “Be strong and take courage” in your faith and in the course of your life. The words of our Lord make us certain that we have a mission as Eastern Christians here in this new society in need of our message and testimony, which is to proclaim with the power God’s love for all, His mercy towards others, and proclaim His salvation filled with joy despite difficulties and full of values, ethics and basic Christian practices of life that does not change despite all the modern ideas and behaviours.
Beloveds, we are all invited to cultivate our Christianity in the environment in which we live in, by adhering to the values of a true Christian family based on the will of the Lord, as well as our courage to be true sons and daughters of our Church, witnesses and apostles of Christ in our work and among others.
As the Lord Jesus was born in an environment full of joy in heaven as well as on the earth, I wish you all a fullness of love, happiness and courage in raising the Word of God and proclaiming it to ourselves and to all others in need.
The Blessings of the Lord Jesus are resolved to all of you by the intercession of his compassionate mother Mary and St. Joseph.
Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona
Bishop of ST. Thomas the Apostle
Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Australia & NZ