A lot of things are happening in 2018.
The year brings a bonanza of noteworthy events that will please everyone, from sports lovers to royalty watchers and movie buffs.
The Winter Olympics is held every four years, and in 2018, the games are coming to PyeongChang, South Korea in February.
In May, a royal wedding will be celebrated in the U.K., with Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle exchanging vows.
Anticipation is building up for several movie blockbusters up for release in 2018. One of these is Ocean’s 8, an all-female spinoff of the Ocean’s 11 movie franchise, starring decorated artists such as Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett.
In Canada, recreational marijuana will be legal by summer, a high point for cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.
Also in Canada, 2018 marks the start of the country’s ambitious three-year immigration program to welcome nearly one million newcomers until 2020.
Political junkies will also be busy this year. Municipal elections are going to be held in British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon.
No doubt, there will be new trends in fashion, beauty, wellness, and shopping that will pry open purses of consumers.
In the world of high tech, devices like mobile phones will become smarter as computing technology continues to advance.
With all of these happening, it is not surprising that many, especially in free and wealthy nations like Canada, have little attention left for the poor and less fortunate in their midst as well as those in other parts of the world.
Thousands, including children and the elderly, are affected by the simmering conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and Venezuela.
In Myanmar, thousands of minority Rohingya people are forced to flee their homes to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape persecution.
Tensions are high in Jerusalem. The threat of nuclear holocaust hangs over the Korean Peninsula.
In the Philippines, the deadly anti-drug war unleashed by the government continues to polarize society over the question of human rights. Moreover, fighting between government troops and communist-led rebels will likely escalate after the cessation of the temporary ceasefire as peace negotiations have earlier collapsed.
In this troubled and troubling world, there are indeed a lot of things to be despaired about.
This is the reason why the exhortation made by Pope Francis in his Christmas eve homily is relevant to the times.
According to the Pope, everyone must heed the call to become “messengers of hope”.
Becoming agents of “hope and tenderness” is possible if one were to “make space for a new social imagination” to embrace the vulnerable and suffering.
Everyone is challenged to turn the “power of fear into the power of charity, into power for a new imagination of charity”.
According to Pope Francis, it is a kind of “charity that does not grow accustomed to injustice, as if it were something natural, but that has the courage, amid tensions and conflicts, to make itself a ‘house of bread’, a land of hospitality”.
Citing the example of Jesus, who was born in humility, the Pope stated that “true power and authentic freedom are shown in honouring and assisting the weak and the frail”.
As the year unfolds, everyone is welcome to “become sentinels for all those bowed down”.
By the CFNet Editorial Board