Diary of a ghetto priest | Be like Christ!
Be like Christ!
I am amazed that at 77 years I am being called to purification of so my sins and weaknesses. I am also amazed that after so many years, life is an unending struggle.
"Be like Christ!"
"Bow down and worship Him!"
"Be more generous!"
"Give! Give! Give! Give!"
"Constant repentance is being required!"
"Be careful of pride!"
"Put on the mind of Christ!"
"Have you hung on the cross like Jesus for your sins?"
Repentance! Repentance! Repentance!
So the call to repentance never ends. I am imperfect as long as I live in this human flesh.
"Even now," declares the LORD, "Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate (Joel 2:12-13a)".
We have hearts that want to love, that want to be pure but we are trapped within ourselves with our wayward hearts wondering like lost sheep here and there. I know all this and have struggled with all this. I am sure that all of us do.
All this violence! All this sensuousness! This diabolic music! This is not Jamaica! Where is the love of God and love of one another once so strong in Jamaica. Why so much secular materialism, this lawless pursuit of the pleasure of this world? Where is the joy and happiness so indigenous to Jamaica?
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LENT
And so, let us take advantage of this great season of Lent; let us rend our hearts and not our garments. We are all sinners before the Lord. Let us bare our hearts before God, open our chests, and show what is inside. Let His light shine into our hearts. We are imperfect before Him; greedy, worldly, full of pride and arrogance, lustful, jealous and envious. But thank God for His kindness and compassion! What a great and loving God we have - He never stops loving.
He never stops reminding us. That image burns, imprinted in our souls - Jesus crucified on the cross for you and for me. It is in the hearts of all Christians, indeed of all men! The cross is sweet, it is not bitter. It provides us with a time to cleanse our souls and receive God's mercy and His love.
We represent the people, we who are priests, pastors and representatives of the church. We make offerings of prayers and petitions before the Lord for the community, for we are also sinners. Yes, we call everyone to repentance but recognise that we too are sinners and should also be repentant.
But like Christ, we must not condemn anyone as Christ says, "Whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her (John 8:7)."
As we approach the altar in Lenten Season, let us not be weary of self-examination, and let us call out for God's mercy. "Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us."
And, deep in our hearts, let us remember that Jesus welcomes us and draws closer to us - His way ward and wandering sheep - who love Him.