In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti on Fraternity and Social Friendship — Pope Francis points out that no one is saved alone. He writes, “True, a worldwide tragedy like the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together” (FT, 32). Thus, he challenges us all to work together for a more humane world where people live in a culture of universal fraternity. We work together for the common good while creating a society where no one is excluded.
Jesus’ birth, as narrated by Luke, has become the source of great joy for all the people. Moreover, we are also told that the shepherds were among the first recipients of the good news of Jesus’ birth. The shepherds were in the lowest level of the social strata in Jesus’ time. They were the most vulnerable. If an untoward incident would happen, like when there was famine in the land, they were the ones to be first affected.
However, they would hardly share the good life which the well-off and the powers that-be would be having. If it would be bad news, they were affected; if good, it seemed that they were excluded. Hence, their fear, whenever something would happen in the larger society, becomes explainable. The birth of Jesus, affecting the world, would create a different impact on the lives of the most vulnerable. They would no longer have to feel they are being excluded. The good news is also for them. Everyone is included in the salvation that Jesus brings.
The birth of Jesus is indeed a proclamation of good news of great joy that is for all. No one is excluded.
When lockdowns were implemented in many places in 2020 due to the pandemic, the dire condition of the daily wage earners brought into the fore the sickness of our present societies. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, Pope Francis is challenging us to create a culture of inclusion. Using the powerful imagery of the story of the Good Samaritan, the Holy Father writes: “The decision to include or exclude those lying wounded along the roadside can serve as a criterion for judging every economic, political, social and religious project” (FT, 69). We participate in this culture of inclusion because Jesus came for all of us.
On this Christmas eve, as we again celebrate the coming of our Savior, may we all be inspired and begin participating in the creation of a culture of inclusion. May our common experience of the pandemic bring us all into a full realization that the salvation which Jesus brings is not only for a selected few but for all.