Who could have imagined in the midst of the world festivities of December 31, 2019 that this year 2020 was going to be one of the most complex, difficult and challenging that we would have to live? Because while it is true that every year and every period of a human being’s life brings its complexities, its difficulties and its challenges, this 2020 that is to end, has brought us all this in a high dose, and has “offered” it to all: rich and poor, educated and ignorant, men and women, children, young people, adults, the elderly, rulers and rulers , believers or not.
We have seen countless considerations parade before our eyes about what we have had to live about the pandemic of covid-19. Thinkers, sociologists, psychologists, economists, politicians, scientists, doctors, tourism and travel managers, journalists, religious leaders and simple men and women of the people have questioned us to a greater or lesser extent: What does all this mean? When is it over? Will the world be the same as before? Will we be the same?
In Cuba we have lived for months, day after day, pending the information of Dr. Durán. Our faces and hearts have been shrunk or widened by virtue of the number of contagions and, above all, of the deceased, their ages, their province, their complications. We know that the most painful can not be collected in a statistic, because it is not numbers that die or fall ill, or are left with sequelae, physical or psychological. We are talking about human beings, who are always family, friends, acquaintances… a lot of people. Perhaps at this point in the year, our attention and concern are more stopping at so many other things: that our children and young people do not get sick at school, that the country’s economic problems do not continue to become more heightened, that we may have the food necessary to bring to the table and the possibility of buying them on a fair wage, the result of our work; improve the possibilities and ways of communicating with family and friends living in other countries; that all the sick have the necessary medicines and those who need treatment or cure, can access them with professionalism and love; that the monetary and wage changes that are prevented and announced do not bring more sorrow and anguish about the lives of our people; that a possible future of hope, support and integral progress for our nation, mainly for young people and the elderly, will be welcomed; that Cuba is a place of understanding and dialogue about the present and the future of the homeland, respectful of different visions, where being Cuban and loving Cuba prevails over the inevitable and even desirable different approaches, because a project that brings together, excites and engages more people is always richer.
The end of a calendar year coincides with Christmas celebrations for Christians. Beyond the beauty and nostalgia that engss us before the representation of the Birth or the Christmas Tree; the melody and tender lyrics of carols; the desire to be in the family, to sit together around the table, to augur peace and blessings. Christians celebrate a central event of our Faith: God, in Jesus Christ, has become man. And this truth brings a unique depth and broadens the horizon of every human experience. For if God has become man, all that is human has been assumed, loved, anointed by God. There is no human reality to which God is indifferent. From this perspective, we could then try to sweep some of what we were questioning at the beginning of these lines. God has accompanied the world, to men, also in this year 2020. If all we have lived has helped us to be more aware of our radical fragility, our interconnection, our need for communion, compassion and fraternity. If for the first time in a long time, we had a year where the main concern of the world was the human life, concrete, of human beings who became ill… and they died… and not just worry about us or mine. If we had time to value silence, prayer, calm reading of the Bible, hugs, kisses, encounters with family and friends. If we can grasp that on this earth we will be only a short period of time and it is not lawful for us to waste time or dedicate it to antagse or harm our neighbour. If we were able to connect with our loneliness, our tedium, our boredom, and we discovered that these “symptoms” revealed to us that there is something greater and fuller for what we are made for. In a word, if we are more human, then we are able to be more divine, in God’s most extraordinary way of manifesting it: becoming fully human.
I don’t know what 2021 will be like. I don’t have a magic ball or get the easy predictions and I don’t believe in horoscopes or card throws. Like Pope Francis, I bet on finding the happiness of a full life in the experience of fraternity and social friendship, as a gateway to the joy of living, loving, growing and transforming our world. I believe in Jesus Christ, God made man, who loves deeply man, who on the cross died for you and me, who rose gloriously from the tomb and lives forever, victor of death and evil. I also know that the world has not gone out of hand and that He leads it, also with my collaboration and with yours, in the absolute respect of our freedom. When I have to make considerations about time, nothing better comes to mind than that which, paraphrasing, said by the great Augustine of Hippo: “Let us not be left of time. Time is us. Let’s be better ourselves and the weather will be better.”
I wish you a happy 2021, the best year of your life, the one in which you will be a better person, a better Christian, a better Cuban. The encounter with Christ makes it possible. It comes to you in the smallness and tenderness of a Child, in the arms of a Virgin Mother. Will we be willing to open his heart and live with Him and like Him? Ω