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Published:December 12th, 2010 12:14 EST
Is There Reason for Hope?

Is There Reason for Hope?

By Ignatius Fernandez

 It is a pleasant thought that when you help a fellow up a steep hill, you get nearer to the top yourself.    - Reynolds Price.

 Some days ago the newspapers reported on a ravaging fire in Israel that claimed 41 precious lives and scorched acres of land. Firefighters and the people of the area braved the flames to stop more damage. The best part of the team effort was the joining of Palestinians in the firefighting. Setting aside age-old rivalry and rancor, they offered to help their adversaries. What a beautiful act! What a wonderful way of expressing oneness in the face of danger! Do we see a window for peace in the monstrous wall that separates them?
We hope that out of some evil, much good will come.

We are reminded of the parable Jesus told - The Good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite, walked past the wounded man. Supposedly, they had their reasons. Along comes a Samaritan, whom the Jews despised. He stops to succor the wounded man. He does not shun him. Instead, he sees a fellow in distress and willingly helps. Are we seeing the parable in action, 2000 years after Jesus narrated it? In their rescue effort are the Palestinians giving us a sign of hope? Is a candle being lit which can light other candles?

Will the politicians in Israel and Palestine take a cue from their peoples and find a way to live in peace? Will North and South Korea stop posturing and negotiate peace? Will North and South Sudan be inspired to give up hostilities? Will the Hindus and Muslims in India build a monument to brotherhood and peace at the place where the Babri Masjid once stood? Will the Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka find common purpose? Will the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland accept that Jesus Christ is one who has no affiliations and therefore work under a common banner? Will the Republicans and Democrats unite to serve America and the World, and not their petty agendas? When people in Israel and Palestine can light a candle, will others light more?

In this season of goodwill we wish you a blessed and peace-filled Christmas and a hope-filled New Year.

It is time we brought Jesus back to his rightful place in Christmas.