“Comfort, give comfort to my people” (Is 40: 1). With these words of hope and trust from the prophet Isaiah, we start this Christmas message addressed to all members of movements which make up ECWM, in these hard times that our world and our Europe are suffering. COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll in many of our fellow citizens, both in health and economic aspects, venting its rage over those who suffer the worst living conditions. Moreover, many European citizens have died in our countries because of this pandemic.
“Because there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk 2: 7). Many of the precarious situations that European citizens suffer, were experienced by Jesus, the Son of God, at his birth. A situation of poverty lived in these times by many people: workers fired, jobs destroyed, the sick, psychological damage, deaths and other consequences that deteriorate us as individuals and society.
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." (Lk 2: 15). The health and working conditions that our society live call us to get close the manger of Bethlehem and to watch in it to Jesus who is born in the midst of our world wounded by precariousness and pain. This is why we repeat the action of shepherds when we go to those who suffer most this pandemic. Make solidarity, fraternal love and the dedication of our time be the hallmark of our visit to the poor and humble manger that our world is today.
“Then the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen” (Lk 2: 20). All we have lived in these months, and we are still living, forces us to open our heart and the sensitivity to all kinds of pandemics. May our Eurocentrism not make to forget us that pandemic is universal, and that many very poor countries suffer other pandemics that decimate their peoples, hit by crises provoked by other factors such as the drought, the hunger, armed conflicts and population displacement, and also have very weak health care services.
“He was named Jesus” (Lk 2: 21). Jesus means “the Lord saves”. The very name Jesus is for us a call to hope, to look at our future and our people’ with eyes put on Jesus. A Jesus who encourages and invites us to solidarity and humanizing action there where we are: family, neighbourhood, workplaces, volunteer centres, organizations and associations of solidarity. Following Jesus, we will be the unique Bible that many people will be able to read; make our action be both saving and evangelising. We are encouraged to carry out this task by the last two encyclicals of Pope Francis, Laudato si and Fratelli tutti because they are a reference for our Christian commitment in the working world and in the social action of Church.
Friends of EWCM: Merry Christmas! Let us celebrate it taking all the health preventive measures that our governments recommend us. Let us celebrate that Jesus, the Son of God, has become flesh of our flesh, one of us, and he remains with us forever in the bread and wine of Eucharist and in the hungry, the thirsty, the migrants, the naked, the sick and the prisoners (cfr. Mt 25: 34-36). With Jesus and as him, we want to wash feet to all of them: “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13: 15)
(Photo: Catholic Church in Belgium)