Dear Hindu Friends,

On this delightful occasion of Deepavali which celebrates the preeminence of Light over Darkness, may God, the Transcendent Light, bless and illumine your communities and your relations with others with his unconditional love and mercy.

Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma as it is known, acknowledges mercy or compassion as a core principle. Its followers are behooved to grow in this noble virtue. The text of Gautama Dharmasutra (600-400 BC) defines mercy as: “complete love belongs to one who always delights in behaving towards all beings as equal to the self, for their good and for their welfare”.

Padma Purana states that it is the virtuous desire to mitigate the sorrow and difficulties of others by making all the efforts necessary. Matysa Purana, on the other hand, calls it one of the necessary paths to being happy and describes it as a value that treats not just human beings but all living beings as one’s own self and as one that wants the welfare of all. (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Celebrating Mercy with Believers of Other Religions, 33)

In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy convoked by Pope Francis, which will conclude on 20 November, each member of the Catholic Church is called to experience anew God’s mercy and reveal the face of God who is mercy.

He has likened the Church to a field hospital which goes forth and exists where there is combat. He has exhorted each Catholic to go out of their comfort zone, to “look for people, where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope”.

In short, to deny oneself, to love and be one with all beings and to be truly concerned about their welfare, as is expressed in your holy texts. To establish a truly human world is to bring God’s mercy into every nook and corner of it.

During the Interreligious General Audience of 28 October 2015, Pope Francis further expressed his desire for all believers of every religion to work together in the field of charity in this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

In Singapore, even though we enjoy much material success, there are many among us who are in need of the compassion and aid of others to overcome the myriad of difficulties and struggles in life.

In a special way, we need to explore how we could do more for our migrant workers in Singapore, especially their working conditions, living facilities and a just remuneration. We must ensure that they are properly respected and appreciated for their contributions to Singapore and that none are exploited in our midst.

Let us make a concerted effort to exhort members of our respective communities to explore ways to unite and better the lives of those who are needy and vulnerable, thus bringing the Light of Mercy to shine on them.

I extend my heartfelt best wishes to all of you and your families on this special occasion. We are privileged to have a good relationship with our Hindu friends and we wish to assure you of our support and solidarity in making this place a better world, a peaceful home and a united society. Happy Deepavali. Saal Mubarak!

Most Rev William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore

Msgr Philip Heng, SJ
(Interreligious Relations)

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