Fr Bobby Yap's Christmas message to the Ateneo community (Dec 2021)
18 Dec 2021
It is said that the first ever Christmas was celebrated in Rome on December 25th. This coincided with the Roman celebration of the winter solstice - that time of the year when the night was at its longest and darkest, when the northern hemisphere has tilted farthest away from the sun.
The Romans might have other reasons to have started celebrating Christmas on December 25. But one possible reason could be the best: they calendared the birth of the Savior when the darkness has reached its peak, when it can no longer overpower the light.
In the darkest of nights, the brightest light arrived. Jesus arrived to illuminate our path towards a more loving, more just, and more caring world.
Meanwhile, we have just gone through one of the darkest periods in our lifetimes. In the past two years, we’ve witnessed and felt a great darkness descend upon us, as crisis upon crisis battered our world. It seemed like we were farthest from the light.
But it was during those dark times that we saw people from all walks of life step up and respond to the world’s greatest needs. And in that darkest of times, I am truly happy to see that Ateneo’s light shone -- our students, staff, alumni, and our extended community braved an unseen enemy and responded to the needs of our community, especially of the neediest, the abandoned, and the most at risk. There were a lot of stories of volunteerism, of creativity, of innovation -- all to respond to the needs of our fellow Filipinos.
But even as we are finally starting to see glimpses of brightness ahead of us, our task will never be finished. We’ve recently just finished crafting a new strategic plan for our University - our response, or more appropriately our vow, to become a force for good in our unpredictable, complex environment. We have chosen to call it “Lux in Domino” -- an embodiment of our commitment, enshrined in our University seal, to make a positive impact in the lives of our fellow humans.
Our society has been profoundly altered by the experiences of the past two years. Many people are still suffering and recovering from the multiple blows they’ve been dealt with. The call for positive, lasting change will never cease as long as inequality, injustice, and suffering exist. We all must actively choose to respond to this call, to always choose to serve others, to bring change, even bit by bit, to our world.
This Christmas season, and as we turn the calendar to another year, I hope that we all pause, pray, and reflect on how we can be truly agents of God's love in our world. May the spirit of Lux in Domino guide all of our endeavors, as we work towards being a true force for good in the world.
Merry Christmas, fellow Ateneans, and may you have a blessed new year ahead.
03 Dec 2022