As an Office we are forever grateful for all the blessings the Lord showered upon us throughout this challenging year, as we explore all means to be of service to the Church, the Order, to our brothers and to all of you.
As acceptable expressions: broad concepts, and imprecise sentiments have nothing to do with the fraternity He delivers. It is a brotherhood established on genuine love that enables us to meet people who are unlike us, feel compassion for their suffering, grow close to them, and care for them even though they are not members of our communities, family, ethnic group, or religion. Regardless of their differences, they are still our brothers and sisters.
The same holds for ties between individuals and nations: we are all brothers and sisters! It is even more critical that we identify as brothers and sisters at this point in history, characterized by ecological calamities and severe economic and social injustices that the coronavirus outbreak has worsened.
At Christmas, we commemorate the entry of Christ’s light into the world; he comes for everyone, not just a select few. Today, amid the pandemic’s doom and gloom, several rays of optimism shine through, like the discovery of vaccinations. However, for these lights to shine and bring hope to everyone, they must be available for all. We must not allow the numerous varieties of nationalism to close in on itself and prevent us from living like a real human family. And we cannot enable radical individualism to infect us and blind us to the suffering of our brothers and sisters. We cannot put ourselves first, allowing commercial forces and patents to trump the law of compassion and humanity’s health.
We must call everyone, the church and government leaders, corporations, and international organizations, to prioritize collaboration over competition and work toward a solution that benefits everyone: vaccines and opportunities for everyone, especially the world’s most vulnerable and impoverished. Priority is given to the most vulnerable and in need!
Although Jesus was born in a stable, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph love him dearly. By his physical birth, the Son of God consecrated familial love. Our thoughts focus on our communities and families: those unable to gather this season and those confined to their homes. May Christmas inspire us to rediscover the family as a cradle of life and faith, a place of acceptance and love, conversation, forgiveness, brotherly solidarity, and shared joy, and a source of peace for all humanity.
We cannot create barriers in the face of an insurmountable obstacle. We are all in the same boat. Every other individual is either our brother or sister. We see the face of God in everyone, and in those who suffer, we see the Lord appealing for assistance. We see him in the sick, the impoverished, the unemployed, the disadvantaged, the migrants, and the refugees: in all of His creation!
Merry Christmas and a blessed New year 2022!
Br. Jaime Campos, OFM
Br. Angelito Cortez, OFM