Let us pray today for the Christians in Laos and Cambodia who comprise less than 2% of the population. May they be strong in the faith and witness to it by the way they live their lives and the charity they show to their fellow citizens. Our reflection is from an address Pope Benedict gave to their Bishops in 2007.
I ask you to convey the affectionate greeting of the Successor of Peter to the priests, men and women religious, catechists and lay people of your communities. I know of their hardships and of the inner strength which they have all shown in order to live in fidelity to the Lord Jesus and his Church. Today, I invite them to stand firm in the faith and to witness generously to God's love for all their brethren. … Dear Brothers, you are exercising your ministry at the service of the Church in conditions that are often difficult and in extremely varied situations. In your service to the People of God, you may rest assured of my brotherly support and that of the universal Church!
The recent celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Church's presence in Cambodia is an opportunity for the faithful to acquire an ever deeper awareness of the long history of Christians in the region. This history is marked by the generous and at times heroic gift of their lives offered by numerous disciples of Christ for the Gospel to be proclaimed and lived.
"Jesus is the Good News for the men and women of every time and place in their search for the meaning of existence and for the truth of their own humanity" (Ecclesia in Asia, n. 14). In proclaiming this to all peoples, the Church is not attempting to impose herself but is witnessing to her esteem for the human being and the society in which she lives. In the social and religious context of your region, it is especially important that Catholics show their own identity, while respecting the religious traditions and cultures of other peoples. This identity must be expressed in the first place through an authentic spiritual experience that is rooted in the reception of the Word of God and the sacraments of the Church. The Christian community's courageous commitment to the most underprivileged is also a special sign of the authenticity of its faith. … In fact, love of neighbor, rooted in love of God, is an essential duty for the Christian community and for each one of its members.