Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas
By: Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel | Source: Catholic.net
At the beginning of a new year, we all express our desires that we do well, that we have health and work, that there is happiness and that we enjoy life in peace. But are these only occasional words, or are there grounds for them to come true? It seems that they are empty words, since laments and worries prevail.
Presidential promises are not being reflected in everyday life. The economy does not grow as offered. Social security, despite changes in strategies and structures, does not improve, but we are exposed to gangs of criminals and extortionists who do not touch their hearts to impose their laws and kill those who do not support them. Communities that are fleeing violence and threats from these groups are being depopulated.
The country has broken down socially. We do not explain why we have reached this unfortunate situation, if we have many natural and human resources, if there are so many good and capable people, if we have history and values ... What happens is that the social base has been destroyed, which is the family. Our legislators are dominated by small groups that put their debauchery as a right, and are cowards to defend the family. If children grow up without parents to educate them by example, what can we expect! Everyone does what they want, regardless of the rights of others! We are reaping what has been sown. Therefore, it seems that the outlook for the new year is not encouraging.
And in our churches, we are not always very exemplary. I listen to complaints from parishioners who say they have turned away from religious practice because of the bad treatment of their pastors. They do not turn away for doctrinal reasons, but for the aggressive, cold, dry, indolent, moody ways of some priests, who seem to give more importance to the economic, than to evangelization. They say that, for that reason, there are those who change their religion.
About this, Pope Francis said in his homily on Christmas night:"On the nights of life, to us as to the shepherds, God tells us:" Do not fear "(Lk 2,10). Courage, don't lose confidence, don't lose hope, don't think that loving is wasted time! On this night, love overcame fear, a new hope appeared, the gentle light of God overcame the darkness of human arrogance. Humanity, God loves you, became man for you, you are no longer alone! ... Let us accept the gift that is Jesus, and then transform ourselves into a gift like Jesus. Becoming a gift is giving meaning to life and it is the best way to change the world: we change, the Church changes, history changes when we begin to not want to change others, but ourselves, making our life a gift .
Jesus tells us tonight. He did not change history by constraining someone or by force of words, but with the gift of his life. He did not wait for us to be good at loving us, but he gave himself to us for free. Nor can we expect others to change to do good, that the Church is perfect to love her, that others have consideration for us to serve them. Let's start ”(24-XII-2019).
In his letter Admirabile signum , he says: “Let's think about how many times the night involves our lives. Well, even in those moments, God does not leave us alone, but becomes present ... His proximity brings light where there is darkness and illuminates those who go through the darkness of suffering ” (No. 4).
In his Message for the Peace Day 2020, he states: "Hope is the virtue that sets us on track, gives us wings to move forward, even when the obstacles seem insurmountable" (No. 1).
If we want the country to change and there is peace, let's start with ourselves, with our family and community. As Jesus says, treat everyone well, even those who treat you badly. Do not settle for not harming others, but open your eyes and heart to do something for those who suffer more than you. Forgive from the heart who has harmed you. Educate your family in honest work, in respect for others, in sobriety and austerity, in the generous concern for the community. This new year, and every year, also depends on you and me. Cheer up and congratulations.