ACROSS THE SEA WE ARE ALL ONE FAMILY
On April 2 of this year, there was a large earthquake under the ocean off the coast of Chile. The next day, a tsunami from that country reached Japan. This event made us aware that even countries across the sea are neighbors because the tsunami occurred despite Chile and Japan being separated by more than 15,000 kilometers of ocean. On the other hand, the debris and radiation, which flowed into the sea because of the tsunami generated from the Great East Japan Earthquake, floated across the Pacific Ocean, reached the West Coast of America, and is now the source of a big problem. Thinking about this makes us all realize that almost all the countries of the world are linked even those across the sea.
When I thought about how that tsunami from Chile reached Japan, I also could not help but wonder whether the countless boats that encountered the tsunami along the way were safe. Where depth of the sea is very great, tidal waves can travel at speeds which are comparable to that of a jet going in excess of 500 kilometers an hour. That caused me to worry about whether or not there had been boats on the Pacific Ocean that were in the path of the tsunami and had disappeared or what effects the tsunami may have had on the people who were fishing.
In today’s world, our concepts and perspectives have to be global, but it is not enough simply to, “think on a global scale.” Our perspectives, “toward everyone, no matter where, must be based on the perspective of the changeless Gospel;” in other words, they must be “universal”. Since God loves all human beings, our perspective too, must include everyone. No one can be considered beyond our concern.
Once seafarers leave port, they enter upon the great ocean and are beyond anyone’s field of vision. Even while being sustainers of a substantial part of the world economy, if they were to meet with some great difficulties somewhere, the only people, almost without exception, who would worry about them and pray for them, are their loving families. I think that if before God we are all truly one family, then we should constantly keep them in mind, watch over them, and continually pray for their safety. To express these thoughts concretely in some small way, there are people who visit ships when they come into port. Through their visits all of us become linked to the seafarers who enter the ports of Japan.
I ask you in some way to pray for seafarers and, both spiritually and through donations, that you support the activities of the people who visit those ships.
“May God always protect all those who work at sea, and after their work is done, may they always return safely to their families.”
July 13, 2014
Catholic Commission of Japan for Refugees, Migrants and People on the Move
Matsuura Goro (Auxiliary Bishop of Osaka), Chairperson
... Click here for Japanese original