Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Christmas is the time for happiness, the time of joy, the time to celebrate. Traditionally, this is the time where we reunite with the people close to our hearts. And as it happens one week before the changing of the year, it also serves as a good time to reflect on our life journey throughout the passing year.
While these days a lot of these celebrations have been secularised, as Catholics, it is important for us to constantly remember that the essence of the day is to commemorate the nativity of Jesus. It marked the beginning of His mission on earth to redeem our sins. God the Father sent His only Son to the world to die on the cross to restore the broken relationship between us mortals and our Creator because of our original sins. Realising how powerful His mission was, we should feel amazed that God chose to start His journey in such humility, being born in a stable and put in a manger. The circumstances on which Jesus was born would probably be much worse than all of us when we were born.
On the other hand, we also recall that earlier this year, the Princes of the Church elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ to succeed Pope Benedict XVI who announced his retirement from the Papacy due to poor health. As we could see from his words and actions, Pope Francis puts emphasis on his vision to make the Church poor and for the poor. Pope Francis has repeatedly urged his followers to put more attention on the disadvantages and the helpless. As Catholic doctors, serving the poor should also be one of the central themes of our duties. The Hippocratic Oath stated that we must treat the sick, free of all intentional injustice. We also recall Jesus’ words that whatever we do the least of his brethren, we do it to Him (Matthew 25:40). Therefore, it should be the nature of our services to serve the needy. Additionally, we have to fully grasp that patients are never objects, and neither are they media to achieve our personal glory and prosperity. They are our fellow human beings who we should treat with dignity. The centre of our services should always be the patients, not ourselves.
Since He was born, Jesus has taught us, by example, the spirit of humility in serving God. Throughout His life, Jesus had always been obedient to His Father. Not once did he stray from his mission to proclaim God’s love to the world. We too, as His followers, should always remember that we are both children of the earth and children of God. Therefore, in our words and actions, it is always vital to constantly remind ourselves of our Christian values. We must always remember to be humble in our services to others, and we must always focus in helping others improving their quality of life. As Pope Francis once said in 2003, each day we all face the choice to be Good Samaritans or to be indifferent travellers passing by. Which pathway do we wish to take? Christmas is a commemoration of God’s love to us sinners. It is our call as Christian doctors to pass on His grace to our fellow brothers and sisters who rely on us to save their lives and relieve their illness. May the peace of Christmas fill our hearts and strengthen us in carrying out our duties. Merry Christmas to all of us, and may God bless all of us.
Dr. Ignatius Harjadi Widjaja
President of AFCMA