By TLS soc com
Dili, Timor-Leste, 21 May 2022 -- Fr. Apolinario Maria Ornai Neto,SDB (The Provincial of TLS Vice-Province) congratulates all the Salesian Family and all the Timorese here in Timor and in the diaspora who commemorate the restoration of the 20th anniversary of their independence. This is an important moment to pause for a while and reflect upon our history as a sovereign country struggling and fighting amidst the challenges for the prosperity of the people. 20 years ago life was undeniably tough and with much toil but with the spirit of nationalism; we have explored the challenges now become opportunities for our survival and development. In 20 years Timor-Leste has shown its maturity as a sovereign and independent country.
Many things have happened already in a span of 20 years. We have experienced a lot of things: happiness and sadness, ups and downs overlapped in bringing this tiny island to this moment. Our sovereign body (The President of the Republic, The Supreme Tribunal, the Government and the National Parliament) have been working hand in hand tirelessly for the prosperity of the people and the survival of the state and at the same time to strengthen our sovereignty, to free people from poverty, and for the development of the state holistically.
Some of the dreams we have acquired but some are still on the bucket list to be fulfilled. We walk slowly but surely with certainty. To realize those dreams; the task does not pertain only to the government but it is for all the citizens. Everyone has right and duty to contribute for the survival and development of the state. The state has been liberated but the poor haven’t yet been liberated. Impoverishment tends to be part of the picture but due to the love of the people, the leaders of the state are working hard to liberate people from poverty.
St. John Paul II had his personal impact and was crucial for our independence. A public figure who shook the world with his wisdom and charism. In his visit to East Timor (Timor-Timur) in 1989 he told the Timorese “You are the Salt of the Earth and You are the Light of the World. Your country really needs reconciliation to establish peace, stability and good life.” Then, in entering to the New Millennium (Year of 2000) he wrote an encyclical letter entitled New Millennium; He said “Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look at the future with confidence.” It is a powerful message the late John Paul II left as his eternal legacy for the world to see God in every moment of our lives.
Our history has seen so many wounds, pain, tears and is full of dark history. Let us look at the past with gratitude and project the future full of hope and fight a better future for the state and the people in God’s help and protection. As a Latin expression would say “Historia Magistra est Vitae.” If the past has caused wounds in us, let us learn from that and render reconciliation to each other for a better life in the future. This is the sign of a true disciple of Jesus.
Let us take moments of silence in remembering our heroes who have sacrificed their life for our independence. We ask God to help us in our struggles , in our ups and downs in our projections and plans that everything may happen according to God’s will for the Glory of God and our Salvation. We really need God’s intervention in this process of reconciliation and development.
As St. John Paul II reiterated, we have to live the present with enthusiasm. Live the present as a gift (present) from God. Normally, we do not lose the present we got. We take care of it. We keep it securely. This gift of independence is really a gift of God; hence, we need to thank God for this beautiful gift.
John Paul the Great still continues by saying that “looking at the future with confidence.” This means that we need to put all our trust in God hand and protection. Trust in God that everything will be alright in God’s perfect time. All the wounds will be healed. We just have to put our complete trust in God. He is our Alpha and Omega.
Happy 20th Restoration of Independence to all!
May God Bless Timor-Leste!