Peace be with you!
Dear friends, honourable members of the legal fraternity. This is the third time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, thanking God for the gift of your profession as legal practitioners, and praying to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
Last year, I reminded you about the Year of Faith. I hope you still remember. Now the year has ended. I hope you have found time to re-examine your own faith, and allowed it to influence your life and profession.
The beauty of our Christian faith is that it is freely given to us, to help us look at the world from the perspective of a God who is LOVE, and to live our lives as witnesses of that LOVE. St John says in his letter that “everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love” (1 Jn 4:7-8). This concept of God sets us apart from people of other faiths.
We know that Christian love, when it is translated into action, is life-giving and hopeful. It is selfless and sacrificial. It is merciful and forgiving. It empowers and builds up. Indeed, Christian love can be summed up in the person and life of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Saviour of the world. In Him we see love at its highest and purest form.
When we take Jesus as our role model, when we put into practice His teachings and values, we become like Him, bringing light to a world that is still filled with darkness; to a society that is still nurtured by selfishness, jealousy and hatred; to a nation where racism and corruption still thrive; and to a people that is gradually losing their fear of God.
As Christians, though we are small in number, we are called to be the “light and salt” of our nation, to transform our society with holiness and righteousness. We are called to be living witnesses of the love of God. And we are called to share that love through our lifestyles. Pope Francis is urging Catholics in the world to project the Gospel values in their lives, so that others may be attracted to the message of salvation.
As legal practitioners, I believe you would know how to respond to such call. But I hope whatever you do or decide, you will always be guided by the Scriptures and the Church’s official teachings. I encourage you to always put justice and love before everything else, even though it might cost you personally. As defenders of justice, you are called to put things right in the society. This is especially so when the dignity and rights of a person or a community are being trampled upon.
To do so, some of you might ask what your points of reference are. The Church, with its rich tradition and doctrines, has ample resources to equip you. One such resource is the social teachings of the Church, which provide reflections on how to deal with social issues ranging from moral to cultural to socio-economic and to politics. I would encourage you to study them properly so that you could articulate well on issues affecting our society today from the stance of the Church.
Dear friends, honourable members of the legal fraternity,
The Church does not comprise of the clergy and religious only. All of us are members of the Body of Christ. We need each other to build the Kingdom of God in our midst. While the ordained ministers and those in consecrated life have their roles to play, the laity are the ones who are at the forefront, living out the Good News through their words and actions in the society.
I hope and pray that this annual gathering will motivate you further in living out your Christian faith in your profession.
Thank you and God bless you all.