A Better Year? We can make it happen!
The greeting of everyone on the First Day of 2007 is “Happy New Year.” May 2007 continue to be under the shadow of Christmas. According to one popular song: “The real meaning of Christmas is the giving of love everyday.” According to the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II “It is always Christmas in the hearts of Christians.” We can do it! We can make it happen!
The first day of every new year since 38 years ago is a World Day of Peace. Peace does not mean only the absence of hostility, hatred and war, in the climate of violence and counter-violence. Peace, as a moral imperative, “is brought about by justice, requiring respect for human dignity and human rights, the promotion of the common good by one and all, and the constant practice in solidarity.” (PCP-II 307). “Peace is the fruit of love which goes beyond what justice can provide” (Gaudium et Spes 78). Unless there is work of justice and love in our situation, our peace will be in a precarious state. It is difficult. But together we can do it!
“The new name for peace is development” (Populorum Progressio). The promotion of development demands collective intervention and responsibility of government, churches, peace keepers and the entire society. This is best proven not only in time of calamities brought about by typhoons, fires and tsunamis but also in the normal times. Development must be seen in terms of food on the table of the poor, secure employment for the millions here in the country, low cost medicine for the families of workers, scholarships for the poorest, decent homes for squatters and slum-dwellers. Each one must ask what he/she can do to promote peace and development. We can do it!
Will 2007 be a better year—seven being “biblically” a perfect number? Hopefully and prayerfully it will be if we do not insist on doing the things that have produced our problems. Jesus of Christmas will be telling us “The time of fulfillment/perfection has come … Repent (that is, change your mind and behavior), and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1/15). “Clothe yourself with new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness” (Eph 4/23).
High hopes! Great hopes! It will be a better year when more and more of the marginalized and exploited are offered opportunities to work for and acquire their permanent shelter, genuine health benefits, liberating education, dignified employment and above all sufficient food. It will be for them a New Year.
+ ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro &
December 29, 2006