CBCP: Xmas challenges people to transform society

IN THE FACE of poverty and difficult situations, Christmas challenges people to act in order to transform the society they live in, a Church leader said.

The core message of the Christmas season “compels us to accept our individual role in this crucial and intricate work of transforming the face of the earth,” CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar said.

Just as Jesus has transformed the world at his Incarnation, so we should begin it by receiving Jesus in our hearts, Odchimar said in a Christmas message.

“If we allow our hearts to be mangers on which He lays, He can make rich and beautiful hearts out of our own—hearts who can love as He loves; who can forgive as He forgives; and generous hearts who take joy in none other than self-giving,” he said.

The prelate noted that situations of unpeace, such as threats of war, political unrest, and armed conflicts, can sometimes blur the people’s faith and hope in God.

“In our country, acquiring peace in Muslim Mindanao seems almost hopeless while insurgency, coup attempts, and crimes such as extrajudicial killing, terrorism and the like continue to interrupt the smooth progress of national affairs,” he said.

“With the approval of RH Bill, a woman’s womb can be a ferocious threat to those who are yet to be born,” he added.

But despite difficult situations, the prelate said, still “many a great wonderful thing happens in this most anticipated season of the year.”

He said Christmas brings cheer to people’s hearts and lead people to become good and generous to one another.

“We marvel at how the street children, the prisoners, the people in Payatas and Smokey Mountain, and the indigenous tribes could sing their heart out to the tune of Christmas Jingles. Armed Forces have their camps decorated with Christmas trees and lanterns; insurgents leave their guns in the fox hole. Conflicting parties seek reconciliation and most often, ceasefire and peace-talks befall on Christmas,” Odchimar said.

The prelate said the transformation happens because of “the irresistible power of Christ to change the face of the world according to His own plan.”

“If we look at the stable at Bethlehem in its utter ordinariness, it reflects the same indigence, misery, and confusion in the world; but, the very presence of the Holy Child laid in the manger signifies the overwhelming transformation of that empty place into a beautiful belen,” he explained.

Christmas, Odchimar said, should not lead us merely to remember, but to experience in our hearts the deep joy in Bethlehem.

“We relive the ethereal serenity and peace which this holy night brings and we are made witnesses to the fulfillment of the promise of Hope,” he said.

“Jesus’ nativity must not be seen as an event of the past,” the prelate said. “Rather, it is a new era marked by the dawning of the Great Light, which transcends earthly reckoning of time.”

“And this is the good news: We are living in this era of new expectation for peace, joy, and prosperity!” he furthered. CBCP News

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