Diary of a Ghetto Priest | Happy and Holy Christmas ... Look out for the bridegroom
The bridegroom is coming! Drop everything! Leave everything! "Come and follow me," says Jesus. "I am the bridegroom, you are the bride. You know that I love you." Strange words are spoken by the Lord, and it takes many years to understand it.
How can the Lord be the bridegroom, and I, a man, be the groom? But after years of struggling, we understand the reality. There is a body and a soul. We are composed of these two principles in life.
No one can doubt in life that there is death; that the body dies and is buried; it corrupts and becomes part of the earth. On the other hand, there is the soul that lives forever; it never perishes. It's true that some doubt, but then, if there is doubt, what is it that gives life? What is that inner principle that makes us walk and talk, laugh and weep, think and love?
The scriptures speak of the soul: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, from hereon all men will call me the blessed one," (Luke 1:46). There is something in us, the principle of life, that exults; that raises us up to the Heaven; that cries out beyond the Earth to the heavens; that cries out beyond the Earth to the skies; that grasps a reality that is ineffable, invisible, but undeniable - God Himself.
That is the bridegroom. God Himself, Christ Himself, who comes at Christmas time to satisfy our inner longing for a deep encounter with the King of kings and Lord of lords!
I love Him. No one can satisfy me as the Lord does. No man, no woman, no wealth, no land, no position, no acclamation. Only the Lord can.
All through my life there has been a search for that wonderful person: Christ! Who could ever be God but Christ Himself? There is no God like Him! He is the one that brings goodness to the poor.
What God is there like our God? Every god that is worshipped by pagans expect that gold and silver be brought to honour them. Every god that is asserted other than Christ lives in a palace, exonerates the pleasures of the flesh, which does not last, famous kings, princes, princesses, riches, worldly intelligence, this world, and, only this world.
But our God, our Christian God, our God from all ages, chooses austerity, simplicity, self-denial, and the riches and abundance of the soul, and speaks of the abundance of the soul - when man loves God and God loves mankind.
Christmas time is a time for spreading the good news. "I have come to spread good news to the poor; to set the captives free, to give sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, to proclaim the good news to the poor."
HE SERVES US
Our God is a God who does not seek to be worshipped with the riches of the world: bulls and calves, gold and silver. Rather, He comes to serve! He brings sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes for the naked, shelter for the homeless, healing for the sick, and everlasting life for those who love Him and serve Him with their whole heart, their whole mind, their whole strength. And, who love their neighbour, not themselves and their own primarily, but as the good Samaritan does - those beaten, abandoned, and forgotten and left to die on the streets.
This true God is a servant! And serves not only those who are materially poor and rejected but all of us, all we sinners, all we who have forgotten Him! To us, He is the Crucified God! That unforgettable figure, disfigured, broken, stricken, spat upon, speared, smeared, hated, scorned, wounded, killed. We sinners, He came to forgive, to embrace, to scold, to receive, to welcome once again - even to bless with the rewards of His heavenly home.
What a God we have! He came to bring good news; not bad news like the gods of pleasure, the gods of the flesh, bacchanal, which only ends up in disgust, hatred of self, and hatred of others and total futility.
Christ, the beloved of mankind, is born to us today. He brings good news to the poor! Run to the stable! Run to the poor! Treat yourself kindly by enjoying the benefits of selflessness. Pour yourself out by serving the forgotten ones, and be a true lovers of Christ, your true bridegroom. You will find Him in the prisons, the poor houses, among the blind, the cripples, the deaf, the hungry.
We will be feeding hundreds and thousands of people. Even if you don't have anything to give, bring your hearts and your voices, come to sing some songs and rejoice, and carry your arms full of hugs for the little homeless kids, old men and women.
Happy and Holy Christmas!
God bless you.