Mission Society of the Philippines



Father Moderator’s Christmas Message 2017

Christmas greetings to all MSP Confreres and Friends!

     It’s Christmas once again and the cities and towns are all dressed up for the season seemingly oblivious to the pressing issues around us. But this Christmas is pretty much anticipated by most of us. Why? Because we are overwhelmed by the many challenges that steered us to genuinely seek for our Lord’s presence in the here and now. Below are just few issues confronting human life and condition that undeniably need God’s interventions:

  • The warfare in Marawi City that killed thousands of lives and destroyed billions of properties.
  • The Extra Judicial Killing which has claimed many lives of the poor and the destitute.
  • The women who were raped and were brutally killed and are still crying for justice.
  • The human trafficking of mostly women and children sold underground like a commodity with a price on their heads.
  • The unceasing increase of the prices of merchandises that made life harder for most of the employees and taxpayers.

     Given all the seemingly hopeless plight of the common public, I am sure that many must have been seeking for the promised Messiah, like what was prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah: "For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.” He will be known to be a Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (9:5) However, Jesus is different from our worldly view of a savior. He had assumed a different stand and role. And this is what the Christmas season is trying to remind us over and over again. Unbinding us from trappings of our magical fantasies and superhero chauvinism.

Therefore, let us again listen to what St. Paul has to say in his letter to the Philippians:

“Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness;and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the namethat is above every other name, so that every knee should bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (2:6-12)

     Our Savior whose birth in the manger we commemorate this Christmas embodies the true meaning of humility. While He was fully God, He did not claimed equality with God. Though He was equal with God, He did not seize this as an opportunity to further His own interest at the expense of the Father. He willingly released all His personal rights to be like us except sin in order to be with us in all things.

     The year 2018 is declared to be the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons in preparation for the five hundred years of evangelization in the Philippines. The year envisions that clergy and consecrated persons become renewed servant-leaders “who care most especially for the least, the lost and the last”. This exactly is Jesus’ reminder in this Yuletide season. And amazingly, it coincides with the call of the Church for the Clergy and Consecrated Persons for renewal. So that like Jesus who gave us a perfect model on how to serve, we too, will enflesh the real essence of being His followers. The grace I ask for all of us is taken from the prayer prepared for this purpose and I quote:

“Together may we all be renewed and learn how to be Servant-Leaders for the Gospel of Christ so that like him who rose from the table to wash the disciples’ feet,may rise up to the challenge to take careof the poor and the weak, to be always approachable rather than untouchable, and “to imbibe the odor of the sheep.” [Prayer for the Year of Clergy and Consecrated Persons]

     In this way, we may strive to renew our values, behavior and lifestyles to become worthy of our calling to be Jesus’ disciples today.

             May the spirit of Christmas reign in our hearts!


Fr. Eladio B. Oliver,


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