Christmas is ‘assurance’ from God amid trying times

By Ferdinand Patinio  

Apostolic Administrator of Manila, Bishop Broderick Pabillo

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Despite the series of challenges this year, a Catholic prelate on Thursday said Christmas is an assurance that God is with the people.

Apostolic Administrator of Manila, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, said amid the trying times, the birth of Jesus Christ is an assurance that “God is with us.”

“We are no strangers to problems and difficulties. We do not know how these can be resolved, or at least averted. But Christmas assures us: God is with us. God has become man in order to share our journey in this life,” he said in his Christmas message.

“The Immanuel is among us! Yes, we are beset by many problems. Many are still jobless. Uncertainties stare at us in the face. There is anger in the wake of violence, as the senseless killing of the mother and her son in Tarlac, and by a policeman at that. The vaccine which is supposed to be a solution to the pandemic is becoming a source of controversy,” the Manila auxiliary bishop added.

At the same time, he acknowledged the people for continuing to hold on to their faith as shown in their attendance during the Simbang Gabi and receiving the sacrament.

“The pandemic has not stopped the people to express their faith. With proper health protocols and the cooperation of our local government officials, many people have attended our Simbang Gabi Masses and received the sacraments. Many more followed our religious activities in their homes through the internet,” Pabillo said.

“All of these manifest the faith and devotion of our people and their great longing to welcome the Lord Jesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary. May God be praised! We thank our priests and our media people for the undefinable work during these years,” he added.

Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Romulo Valles is hoping that the country would be able to obtain the vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) for the people.

“It is true that there are now several vaccines available against COVID-19. Not courtesy of Isaiah the prophet, but of the pharmaceuticals Pfizer and Moderna. God willing, our government can soon obtain these vaccines and make them available to our people,” he said in his Christmas message.

“Once accepted by most, if not by all, these vaccines can reduce the numbers headed for the ICUs and hospitals. People can return to work, earn a living, and go back to school. And the day may not be far off when we will no longer need to wear masks, do social distancing, or be obsessed with disinfectants,” the Archbishop of Davao added.

He also lauded the efforts of those behind the development of the vaccine.

“As grateful as we are to the men and women of science who produced the wonderful vaccines, we cannot help but recognize their limits. They are good for COVID-19 only. They cannot be effective against the next virus which, many experts say, will surely appear and unleash the next pandemic,” Valles said.

“No vaccine can be a panacea for all the misguided ways by which we humans live. We bring about our own plagues and pandemics. We abuse nature. We wage wars. We tolerate, if not exacerbate, poverty and inequality. We know we can do better, yet we persist in our lack of humanity,” he added. (PNA)

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