The ‘Light of Peace’, a candle lit in Bethlehem, was brought to Malta yesterday afternoon as a reminder of seasonal peace and of the deeper meaning of Christmas. The candle was brought to Malta on the initiative of Malta International Airport, continuing a 22-year-Austrian tradition initiated by ORF Austrian Television in Upper Austria as a relief project for handicapped people.
The Light of Peace was today presented to President Eddie Fenech Adami and to Gozo Bishop Mario Grech who blessed the new MIA chapel.
On this occasion, Bishop Mario Grech delivered a message.
RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IS ESSENTIAL FOR PEACE
Messagg by HL Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo
Malta International Airport
Thursday, 11th December 2008
When the promotion of the dignity of the person is the guiding principle and when the search of the common good is the overriding commitment, then solid and lasting foundations for building peace are laid. But when human rights are ignored and when the pursuit of individual or group interests unjustly prevail over the common good, then the seeds of disorder are inevitably sown.
The “Light of Peace” arrives in our country at a particular historical moment: with the rest of the world, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The defence of the indivisibility of human rights is essential for the construction of a peaceful society and for the overall development of individuals, groups and nations. To affirm the universality and indivisibility of human rights is not to exclude legitimate cultural and political differences in the exercise of individual rights, provided that in every case the levels set for the whole humanity by the Universal Declaration are respected.
Unfortunately today, there exists a gap between the “letter” of human rights, as acknowledged in many international and national legislations, and the “spirit” of these rights There are still countless people in the world whose rights are being violated. By way of example, I can underline a couple of these rights: the right to life, the right to a family, the right to the protection of personal data, the citizen’s right that in a democratic society he/she is treated by public administration without any interference from other bodies.
As Pope Benedict XVI yesterday pointed out, “natural law, written by God in the human conscience, is a common denominator for all men and for all peoples; a universal guide that all can know and on the basis of which all can understand one another… The rights of man are, therefore, ultimately founded in God the Creator . […] If one ignores this solid ethical base, human rights remain fragile because [they are] deprived of a solid foundation.” (Address Pope Benedict XVI gave at a concert held in Paul VI hall to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Vatican City, 10th December 2008.)
We welcome the Light of Peace that comes from Bethlehem – the city where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born. This simple light carries a strong symbolic message: it represents Him who called himself “the Light of the World”.
Let us open our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to enlighten us about the correct concept of human dignity. In Bethlehem the divine light shone in the darkness – “He is the true light that gives light to every man” (Jn 1,9). He will enable us to build a world where every human being feels accepted with full dignity, and where relations between individuals and peoples are governed by respect, dialogue and solidarity.
By time, this “light of Bethlehem” will naturally consume; but today, we are asking God to bless this chapel which will be his house amongst us – may His continuous presence in the Eucharist emit light that will accompany all those who will visit this sacred place.