Charities Week 2024

CharitiesWeek2024 Banner 1000x600 V2 1

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

With all the happenings around the world - wars, natural catastrophes, severe climate change, economic and political upheavals - it feels like the world is coming to an end.  There is nothing but doom and gloom in the air.

This must be how the disciples of Jesus felt after his arrest, torture and cruel death on the cross. Suddenly, they had no leader, no hope, no future. Their world had collapsed and they were crushed. Suddenly, they became marginalised, like wanted criminals. It must have been tempting to run away and pretend that it was all just a dream.

But Jesus knew that His disciples would struggle after his Passion, and that was why all the more He needed them to stay united. In his final moments, the Gospel of John tells us, He prayed, “Protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one.”

Brothers and Sisters, Jesus wants us to do the same. It is precisely because the world is so confused, so rudderless, that many of us feel like bailing out, especially when our problems seem insurmountable. It is in such times that we must rally together to draw strength, encouragement and courage in community, just as the disciples eventually did when they came together in prayer and the Holy Spirit came upon them. When we are united, that unity gathers power, and releases courage and brings about positive actions. Great challenges cannot be overcome alone.

But what is the glue that can bind us together? John’s Gospel tells us of Jesus’ final commandment when He said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” When we love others as Jesus did, we manifest the love of God, and become a sign of God’s love in action. We give hope to a troubled world. True love cannot be contained. It must flow out to achieve full potency. This is why the Holy Father says that the Church’s nature is missionary. Christian love goes beyond the comfort of our loved ones and into the peripheries.

In the same spirit, this Lent, I urge you to reflect on how you can respond more deeply to Jesus’s final commandment.

Take a moment to consider how you can journey with persons on the margins. For example, you can help the many Catholic charities looking for volunteers and financial support. Caritas Singapore, the social arm of the Church here, has launched Charities Week 2024. This annual fundraising campaign is crucial for ensuring that the Caritas family can continue their work for the vulnerable and marginalised.

Love is neither a single act, nor an after-thought, or even an autonomic reaction to a call for help. Authentic love is not just an emotional response, but it is also a considered decision to give of oneself because of a higher calling. So, if you volunteer your time, make it a commitment. If you donate, try and make it a regular giving, even if it means a smaller amount each time, within your means. To love is to walk with those in need, and that is a cultivated habit. So, however you are moved to love, make it intentional and do it with commitment.

Yours in Christ,
William Cardinal Goh
Archbishop of Singapore