To Jain Community on Maha Vir Janma Kalyank Diwas 09 April 2017

To Jain Community on Maha Vir Janma Kalyank Diwas 09 April 2017.

Dear Jain Friends,

I unite myself with the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in sending you warmest felicitations as you celebrate the 2615th Birth Anniversary of Tirthankar Vardhaman Mahavir on 9th April, this year. May this Festive Event bring happiness and peace in your hearts, families and communities!

We Catholics wish to share with you on this occasion a reflection on how we, both Christians and Jains, can foster non-violence in families to nurture peace in society.

Today, in the face of growing violence in society, it is necessary that families become effective schools of civilization and make every effort to nurture the value of non-violence.

Non-violence is the concrete application in one’s life of the golden rule: ‘Do to others as you would like others do unto you’. It entails that we respect and treat each human being as a person endowed with inherent human dignity and inalienable rights. Avoidance of harm to anyone in any way is, therefore, a corollary to our way of being and living as humans.

Unfortunately, refusal by some to accept the ‘other’ in general and the ‘different other’ has generated an atmosphere of widespread intolerance and war. This situation can be overcome “by countering it with more love, with more goodness.”(Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 18 February, 2008).

Family is a prime place where a counter culture of peace and non-violence can find a fertile soil. It is here the children, led by the example of parents and elders, according to Pope Francis, “learn to communicate and to show concern for one another, and in which frictions and even conflicts have to be resolved not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other, mercy and forgiveness” (cf. Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetia, 2016, nos. 90-130).

Both our religions give primacy to a life of love and non-violence. Jesus taught his followers to love even their enemies (cf.Lk 6:27) and by His eminent example of life inspired them to do likewise. ‘Ahimsa’ for you Jains is the sheet-anchor of your religion – ‘Ahimsa paramo dharmah’ (non-violence is the supreme virtue or religion).

As believers rooted in our own religious convictions and as persons with shared values and with the sense of co-responsibility for the human family, may we, joining other believers and people of good will, do all that we can, individually and collectively, to shape families into ‘nurseries’ of non-violence to build a humanity that cares for our common home and all its inhabitants.

Wish you all a happy Feast of Mahavir Janma Kalyanak! Thank you.