Diary of the Ghetto Priest | True Love unto Death
Dying to oneself for the sake of truth and for others is necessary. There can't be just self-concern in life, there must be truth and the readiness to live and die for principles in life. Then there is love, which means again living and dying for others.
What an ideal! It is hard to live out because we are sinners! We compromise in matters of love due to self-seeking. We don't want to say the truth; it might mean being disliked, rejected or hated. We don't want to suffer on behalf of others because it hurts, we don't defend others because it is none of our business, and we don't love our neighbours as ourselves.
But there is Christ, who took on our guilt, our sins, and our weaknesses, and hung on the cross. "Punish me, drive the nails in my hands, curse me and abuse me. I am the guilty one." So says Christ our Hero, our Saviour, our Lord.
As a good pastor once told me, "Unless there be blood upon the altar - there is no sacrifice." This life as a Christian is not an easy thing. We must love until our suffering shows blood, sacrifice, pain, and the readiness to die for each other. Then we believe, and this is not done without Christ crucified, hanging on the cross.
Sometimes, living with each other is peaceful and happy, other times, it is painful unto death - but we must go on. We cry, we weep, we bleed, but we must go on.
Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Give me strength. Give me the interior strength to feel the pain, but yet to keep on going, loving my neighbours.
Love! What a cross! We must keep on pushing forward - together - and never look back or allow self-pity to hold us back. That's the way it is in relationship and in community. We've got to keep carrying the cross. Without a doubt, we will succeed in our love for one another. But what determination and strength it takes - which only comes from Jesus Christ Himself!
The cruel words, the acts of selfishness, the individualism, the jealousy, the envy, the blaming, and the gossip hurt so much. Then there are the misunderstandings that set us apart.
But peace! Let there be peace! Let there be love, let there be no more self-righteousness. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We are all sinners. Let us not be hypocrites, saying "Thank God I am not like other men".
NO CARE IN LIFE
The brothers who take care of the homeless and poor do not understand why so many rejected, homeless, and destitute are brought to us each day.
"How come they are without anyone to care for them?" they ask.
"People call saying they have a brother or sister - but no one to care for them. What do I do, Father? There is also a child and a mother. The mother works, but the child is left at home. There is no one to feed her.
The mother is a poor, simple woman. A man died at Lord's place. Suddenly, there are five people who come from the United States. They want to have a big, expensive funeral. Why is that so?" they ask.
Sacrifice! Sacrifice! Sacrifice!
"But I shall leave an example of fortitude for young men, if with a ready mind and courage I suffer an honourable death, for the most venerable and most holy laws." (2 Mac. 6:18) This law is truth and love.
All Eleazar wanted to do was show an example to all the young men - his love of God.
Thus, Eleazar died, leaving not only to young men, but also to the whole nation, the memory of his death for an example of virtue and fortitude.