The Birth of Jesus is Hope to Our Country
By Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD
The birth of a child is hope for every family. For the poor, the baby is hope for a better life. When she grows up, she will work in the city and send money to the family. For the rich, the baby is hope for continued influence over the next generation. When he grows up, he will continue the family’s legacy. Rich or poor, the coming of a baby is a dawning of a new era.
Similarly, the birth of Jesus gave hope to a people that, for generations, yearned for a messiah. His coming signaled a new beginning. He gave hope to the lowly and the marginalized. His first visitors were the shepherds; and then, the wise men. To the shepherds, the baby is their hope of a better life. He will uplift their dignity. To the wise men, the baby is their hope of a better society. He will free them from tyranny.
But what is hope? When can we say he are hopeful?
To hope is to trust. When we are hopeful, we trust that God will never abandon us. Many times, we are engulfed by problems but we trust that we will overcome them. Our country is engulfed by problems, but we trust that God hears our pleas. Poverty and corruption are prevalent. But we trust that God empowers us with His Spirit so the poor will be uplifted and the reign of the corrupt will soon end. The birth of Jesus is God’s unequivocal message to trust Him.
To hope is to have direction. When we are hopeful, we set our gaze to the future. Jesus’ birth lights up the path to His kingdom of justice and peace. In this path, we will not be lost as we fix our hope in Him. Our country is in a quagmire. In this pandemic, we have seen how the corrupt callously enriched themselves. But despite this deplorable reality, we have seen how neighborhoods help each other, how ordinary citizens pool their meager resources to help those in most need. To hope is to know that this is the direction we should take. Our communities must follow Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor and not be lured by corrupt leaders and dynasts.
To hope is to act. When we are hopeful, we are ready, willing and able to help build God’s kingdom here on earth. We hear His call and obey Him so we become the living proof of His love. When we have hope, our struggles are mere bridges we must cross for His will to prevail. When our families hurt us, we open our hearts to forgiveness and humility, as God unites families in His love. When our leaders fail us, we continue to work for justice and peace as God wills for His people. Jesus as a baby needed Mary and Joseph to nourish Him with food, to keep Him safe and protect Him. In the same way, He calls us to care for the poor and the marginalized. They need our help so they will be nourished both in body and spirit. Jesus wants us to keep our society from evil and protect our communities from corruption and oppression. And we can do this because we are filled with Divine Hope that fuels a caravan that proclaims God’s truth.
As we are bombarded with fake news and are attacked by trolls, as we wake up to daily news of rising fuel prices and of political clans making a mockery of our electoral process, as we ask when will the pandemic end, let us turn to the baby Jesus.
On that holy night, He signaled a fresh start. In Him, we are sons and daughters of the one true King. From the manger, He ushered a new beginning. Through Him, we can build a society where the poor and the oppressed can stand shoulder to shoulder with the rich and powerful. By His birth, he gave hope to the entire world and all generations. With Him, we can build His Kingdom here on earth.