Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Diary of a ghetto priest: Christmas joy for the poorest people

Published:Wednesday | December 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Christ means good news for the sinners. It also means good news for the poor.

We all do wrong. We all are sinners. At Christmas time, this baby child is sent to us by the Father. He is one of us; He is our brother. He is kind. He is compassionate. He will live with us. He will suffer temptation. He knows all our weaknesses and sins.

"Lord, You know our pride, our self-righteousness, our arrogance, our boastfulness, our gossiping, our wickedness, our jealousy, our envy, our slander. Lord, You know our worldliness, our love of the world, our love of glamour, worldly possessions, the falsehood, pretences, hypocrisy of our Christian life and daily relationships - at work, at home, at church.

"You know of our lust, our sensuality, our adulterous actions and thoughts. You know of our anger, our loss of temper, our unreasonableness with others, our lack of compassion for the poor.

"Lord, You have known our desire to be holy, to be kind, to be generous. I cannot tell You how many are my faults, my weaknesses and sins.

"I am so grateful that You have sent Your Son, Your one begotten Son, to take away our sins, my sins, my wrongs, my evils that deserve punishment-everlasting fires. But You loved us, Father, and You send Your only begotten Son to teach us, to suffer for us, to die for us, and open Your heavenly kingdom as our future home, as long as we keep on trying, turning to You, begging Your Son for forgiveness, admitting our wrongs and evils, never justifying ourselves.

"Thank You, baby Jesus, for coming down to earth to be like one of us. You know how weak and sinful we are."

On behalf of the Brothers and myself, we offer a sacrifice of ourselves at Christmas. We give ourselves at Christmas to the poorest of people in our country, Jamaica. We do not go home to our countries and family. We do not give and receive gifts to (and from) our family members. Our family members are in the ghettoesat Faith Centre, The Lord's Place, Bethlehem Home, Jacob's Well, Good Shepherd, Home of the Beatitudes, and the Holy Innocents Crisis Centre.

We open our hearts out singing Christmas carols, wrapping gifts, cooking food, welcoming our friends who serve the poor, welcoming our neighbours in our ghettoes bathing and washing our towels, our poor; dressing our cripples, our blind, our sick, our wounded, our dying; begging and giving, begging and giving, decorating our homes for the destitute and forgotten ones.

We are tired. We work. We pray. We work and sing songs! We practice our Christmas carols; we try to dance; we try and try and try. We get tired, but we must go on. There is so much to do for our neighbours, for our poor. We give and give and try not to think of ourselves.

In all of this, we, Missionaries of the Poor (MOP), are being filled with quiet, peace and joy. We are giving as much as we can. There is nothing else we can do. But that's when we are happy.

Then the Lord comes when we cry out, "Thou! Thou! Thou, oh Lord! Not me, not I, not myself, oh Lord, but Thou and my neighbour, the poorest of the poor!" A light shall shine.

Come, one; come, all. Give to our poor. Come and join us MOP's in the ghettoes. Come and work with us during the Christmas season or on Christmas Day. This way, you will have the happiest of Christmas season.

Make room for Christ, who is the greatest of gifts at Christmas. Empty yourself and make room for this beautiful Gift of the Father. Contact us at 948-6173 or 948-0287.