You arrived on this world in the day of a total solar eclipse. What a momentous occasion for you to be born! It is as if creation was welcoming you with a party. As we heard your first cries, our heart leapt in joy just as it had for our previous two daughters. You were wanted even before you gave your first breath and now we welcome you into this world.
By God’s grace, you came into this world in the United States of America, the first generation from an immigrant family. You ended up here but your story started elsewhere. Always remember that all those privileged to be born in this land once came from somewhere else. We are all one more link in this historic chain.
You are born into a paradoxical time of history. Never before have the world experienced so much economic development with advances in all fronts. Diseases have been tamed, wars are isolated events, most world economies are thriving, and technological advances push further the limits of possibilities. Never was the world so connected and prosperous. Yet, we are gripped with fear. We are rich in information but poor in wisdom. Never before has any generation had such unfettered access to information. Yet, no generation has been more misinformed. While economies grow and difficult global problems recede, we are bombarded with negative news hence living in a constant state of pessimism and paranoia. Fear sells more than hope. In a capitalistic global system, media outlets, the sellers or information, are more often than not choosing the easier path of fear. Consequently, Democracies are tumbling as confidence in government, church and business are in sharp decline.
We are on the verge of major technological breakthroughs. Artificial Intelligence, drones, smart appliances and virtual reality will revolutionize everything we do in the next years. The constant of our time is change. Not just change, but light-speed change – certainly too fast for any mammal brain to keep up with. These breakthroughs are both disorienting and exhilarating. They will open possibilities that our imagination can barely fathom while also unleash evil like never seen before. The challenge for your generation will be to bend this progress towards human flourishing. Are you up for this challenge?
In view of all that, my word to you is one of hope. You are not just one mere individual in a sea of the 7 billion others currently living in this world. You are belong to the household of the faithful. This is a gathering of people from every nation and many centuries, who have embraced the hope in the person of Christ. This imperfect community of faith, fractured, sinful at times drunk with power is also the beautiful hands of God on this Earth. They live with their eyes firm on the promise of that day when everything will be made right and just. It is inspired in that vision that you are invited to walk in the faith-fully and hope-fully in footsteps of those who came before you.
There is much work to be done as we live in a world skeptical of any good news. Yet, those who believe that death has been defeated have nothing to fear. The future reign of our Lord is fast coming to transform our turbulent present. My prayer is that you embrace the call to point the world to the Source of all hope. Point to the finger of God in every good thing that happens in this world. Tell it, live it, incarnate it, share it lavishly with all who will receive it.
You may very well live beyond 100 years in a reality I cannot even fathom from my present perspective. My prayer is that as you outlive me you will continue to carry the torch of this Good News into the future. I may not get there with you but know that regardless, I will be cheering you on.
Be strong, my son. Be bold. Be kind. Be a humble learner. Only those willing to adapt will ever be able to navigate the stirring waters of neck-breaking change. Know above all that you are loved. Loved by your parents, your sisters and above all by your Creator. You are not alone and there is nothing that can change that.
Welcome to our world!