Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: but let it be “new”

2009: It is a “new” year . . . a “new” beginning. We are all refreshed and renewed by the beginning of a new year. A new year means that we have a possibility to forget and to start anew; to erase and to renew; to forget, to forgive and to find again the way . . . The beginning of a new year places us at a juncture where we can learn from the past and project to a better future.

However, the promise of a better future does not stop us from recognizing our present reality, which is marked by a profound crisis. This crisis is manifested in all types of conflicts of a personal nature: family, labor, economic, political, social, cultural, religious, etc.

The lives of men and women, seeming senseless, lacking direction and purpose is reflected in the high index of suicides, drug consumption, alcoholism…families destroyed by all types of circumstances; and a deep economic crisis which no one seems to be responsible for, while the poorest among the poor are the most affected. There seems to be two nations at war in one, with bad relations in the rest of the world, and a conflicting coexistence among the groups that form the North-American society. . .etc. All these circumstances require that a New Year for this Nation be truly new and novel.

To preside over this urgent NEW time in the Unites States –while facing the immediate past and present failures— the Senator for Illinois, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama was elected to lead the government of this great nation.

The election of the first president of African-American descent is, in itself, a historical milestone for this nation. It is even more of a milestone if we keep in mind that this election took place in a society which still has traces of discrimination and racial segregation, where minorities still live as second class citizens.

Even when we Christians have placed our hope in God as revealed in His Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of Abundant Life, the earthly nations have placed their hopes in the Leaders of their nations for the sound and correct handling of their governments.

So, for the immediate future of the North-American society, we have our hopes and trust placed in the government that, starting on January 20th, President-elect Barack H. Obama will head. In him our hope is placed, so that, according to his promises during the electoral campaign, he will put an end to the irrational, unjust and inhumane wars which not only drain the economy and the social well-being of the nation, but also shed the blood of our young soldiers. We trust that the President, surrounded by his trusted staff will do right in his management of the national and international economy, so that, in the short term, we can go back to the prosperity which this nation has represented for its citizens and for the rest of the world.

Beyond that, we have our trust placed in that the government of Mr. Obama will have a “new” way of handling the immigration issue; that so many immigrants, especially the undocumented Hispanics who live in this nation, will received a more dignified, more solidary, more just and more humane treatment. This is befitting of a population that has given its strength and its best effort to contribute to the greatness of which the entire North-American society boasts to the world.

Also, the Hispanic residents in this Nation, and in all their countries of origin, hope that the new government improves and forms better international relations with the Latin American Countries. This should be expected among nations that share the same continent and the same destiny calling out to humanity: to make of the world a more livable, more fraternal and therefore, more humane place.

At the initiation of this new year let us leave behind the bad news; and in solidarity let us begin to work in the creation of good news. All this with the certainty that, if the small or big crisis which at the present moment affects us, is caused by a crisis in humanity, it is worth saying that a deep spiritual crisis for humanity would create a process of “humanizing” growth of the inner soul of each human being; and that the beginning of new and more honest relationship among men and nations will afford us a new year and a better future.

The happiness we feel for the new year and the hopes we place on a new Government have their foundation in the Christian faith which invites us always to renew ourselves, to leave behind the old man and to re-construct in each one of us the new man who is Christ himself, made in the image and likeness of the Father.

This New Year will be new in the same measure that all: those who participate directly in the mission of government, as well as the citizens, can construct with our behavior, words, attitudes and works, the newness that we need so much. Let us toast, then, for a new year, a new society, a new Government for the creation of a better Nation and a new world. I wish that all of you have, together with your loved ones, a new, a happy and a blessed 2009.