Christmas Message: In Solidarity with Poor

By His Grace Felix Toppo, S.J, Bishop of Jamshedpur –

Pope Francis declared1 9 November2017 as the first world day of the poor on, urging us to show solidarity with the poor not in words but in action.

‘Let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth’, echoing the words from John’s letter (1, highlighting the way the Lord showed care and concern for His people right from the beginning of creation, being part of them, in suffering, in poverty and in struggles through the kings and prophets, finally through His Son Jesus, the concrete expression of his solidarity with those whom he loved. Jesus participated in the mission of Father being born as one neglected and least of the society.

For him it was beginning of a transformation of the creation, distorted by the greed and selfishness of few. Ages have passed, but the sinful tendencies continue, experienced in various realities – be it in the form of economic discrepancies, atrocities against the weak, violence in the name of religion or corruption.

The troubled human hearts are groaning for liberation from within and without. In the words of the Pope, we are called to participate in the mission of Jesus to be part of their struggles and poverty. “We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and lives of people and with the speed of communication the geographical distances are shrinking.”

On the other hand, the human hearts are experiencing restlessness, always yearning for more. Further, the fractured relationship with God, with people and with nature, has contributed to the anxiety, making us more introvert and self-centered. In spite of material wealth, often the joy and inner peace evade us. In today’s world and in our context, the mission of God requires from us to re-establish the relationships, paving way to a lasting joy.

The thought of the birth of Jesus and the celebration of it through the carols, family greetings, reunions fills us with nostalgic feelings, remembering the wonderful and magnanimous gesture of God. It also reminds us of the beginning of a process of hope, reaffirmed by the life of Jesus. The hopes and fears of the ages are met in the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, not just the hopes and fears of those who had waited since the fall of Adam and Eve for redemption, but all the hope r to external pomp and extravaganza, but calls us to deepen our commitment to convert the hope into a reality and fear into peace.

As we rejoice and celebrate this wonderful season of Christmas, let us not forget to thank baby Jesus for coming into our lives. Let us together prepare ourselves to welcome him into the homes of our hearts. May the Child Jesus stir our hearts to be true messengers of peace and transformation.

The article is used with permission from CBCI