MANILA — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is urging Filipino Catholics to make room for the poor in order for them to one day enjoy God’s own hospitality.
In his Christmas message, Tagle reminds Filipinos of the value of hospitality this Christmas season, as he asked: "What has happened to hospitality? Without hospitality, how could humanity survive?"
“We Filipinos claim that hospitality is second nature to us. We make strangers or guests feel at home in our company. Our home becomes their home. Hospitality enables us to expand our home so that no one could say there was no room for them,” Tagle said in a statement.
“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 it's unfortunate that people's focus has been on material things.
“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.
“Why is there ample room for hatred and revenge but too little for compassion and forgiveness? 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 profit but little empathy for victims of human trafficking, unfair labor practices, abuse and violence and for wounded creation? 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?"
As concrete instructions on how to practice this hospitality, Tagle said Filipinos must welcome Jesus in “the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick, naked and prisoners so that one day we may enjoy the hospitality of God.”