Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has called on Filipinos to be welcoming to others, especially to the poor and needy this Christmas season.
In his Christmas message, Tagle said hospitality is “second-nature to us” Filipinos and “enables us to expand our home so that no one could say there was no room for them.”
“Christmas is a reminder of hospitality denied by people but reversed by the merciful hospitality offered by God. I pray that our Christmas may make us more hospitable or welcoming to others, especially the poor and needy. Will we make room for them?” Tagle said.
“As Filipinos and as members of the human family, we need to ask: why is there room for a new television set or the latest gadget but not for another child in the family? Why is ‘rugby’ for sniffing available but not affordable nutritious food? Why are vices within reach of young people while education seems unattainable? Why are guns and other weapons more accessible than decent jobs?” he said.
The cardinal further asked: “Why is there no room for hope for those who have gone astray but much space for condemnation by the self-righteous? Why is there room for hostile despair but little for tender hope? Why is there room for destroying lives but minute space for saving them? What has happened to hospitality? Without hospitality, how could humanity survive?”
Tagle urged the faithful to make room for Jesus “in our heart, homes, neighborhoods, and nations” by welcoming the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick, naked and prisoners “so that one day we may enjoy the hospitality of God.”
Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said the true spirit of Christmas centers on caring for the poor and the protection of the sanctity of life.
“Ang kapayapaan at ang mga dukha ang siyang sentro at puso ng Pasko. Ang Mesiyas ay isinalang na dukha binasbasan at dinakila niya ang mga dukha. Itinuturing niyang mga anak ng Diyos ang kumikilos para sa kapayapaan sa ating bansang naghihikaos at nababalot ng dilim,” Quevedo said over Church-run Radio Veritas.
(Peace and compassion for the poor are the true center of Christmas. Jesus the Messiah blessed the poor and peacemakers and treated them as His children, including those who are working for the attainment of peace in our impoverished country clouded with darkness.)
“Nawa’y palagi nating bigyang pansin ang mga dukha. Nawa’y bigyan nating halaga at paggalang ang buhay. Panibaguhin ang panalangin at nawa’y kumilos tayo para sa tunay na kapayapaan na sumasaatin bilang biyaya ng Maykapal,” he added.
(May we always make room for the poor and respect the sanctity of human life. May we always pray and act for the attainment of true and everlasting peace, and may God bless us all). RAM/rga