By Richard Ho Lung, diary of a ghetto priest
WE WANT the world, we want to be children of God. We want to love others, but we love ourselves more than others. We want the pleasures of our flesh, but want the spiritual life also. We want to serve the poor, but only if it is convenient. We are torn between God and mammon, between self-love and love for others, between an inner desire for holiness and to get what we can of this world.
Sin hurts, divides, creates mistrust, resentment, even hatred, and separates us from one another. Forgiveness, on the other hand, builds, unites, reconciles, offers love, understanding and trust for one another.
There are two major concerns that brought Christ to Earth: the need for forgiveness and the sufferings of the poor.
There is so much division in our island: politics, religion, family, business, economics. There is so much blaming, divorce, irresponsibility, fear and division amongst us because we choose self over others.
missing the will of God
We are divided within ourselves and amongst ourselves. Because of Adam and Eve's disobedience and separation from God, we no longer have the mind and will of God to unite us and bind us together from which flows a oneness or brotherhood. We each go our way, wanting what we desire rather than sacrificing our desires for others' needs. We define our value systems according to our personal wishes and then say it is the ways of God. We each want to fulfil our desires according to our feelings, which vary from time to time according to our whims. Man is set against his brother as we seek to impose our will on those closest to us and create enmity, or, we compete with one another for time, money, or personal ambition. Individuals or groups of people are set against one another to survive or succeed. Then there is the unending ambition to be number one which brings about humiliation, envy, competition amongst people who are family members, church members, or, of the same nation.
As an island people, Jamaicans once were community minded because Christianity was so central in our lives. We cheered every Jamaican that did well culturally, athletically, educationally or politically. That is because we were rooted in Christ. Sin, however, has taken over in us. We want more and more and when we don't get it we become angry, instilled in us by our fleshy self which divides us from the spiritual self. It is what the Bible calls the carnal self which leads to having stony hearts. It is the worship of money, power, position, popularity. This creates in our people an 'us' and a 'them,' a hardness of heart which leads to violence, hatred and division.
sins of the parents …
Christ is the repairer of the breach. Cain slew Abel - the sons of Adam and Eve. The sons of Jacob tried to murder Joseph, their youngest brother. Our first parents sinned and passed on to all successive generations the tendency to sin, to oppose one another and blame each other rather than to bring together our brothers and sisters.
Isn't it strange? Jamaicans are one of the most patriotic people in the world. No matter where we are, Jamaicans are proud to be Jamaicans. Yet, there isn't a more divided people than our Jamaican people. We are not at ease with one another. We kill and destroy one another. Again, we are a people of laughter and fellowship, but it is mixed with blood and anger. We want to run away from Jamaica - land we love. We want more and more ,so we go to America. We are sad when we are away from home, but we don't want to live in Jamaica.
We are in a time of great selfishness and self-concern. This can only be repaired by a heart quick to forgive and ready to suffer when others sin against us.
We must forgive and start all over again, husbands and wives, bosses and workers, parents and children, the poor and the rich, those who persecute us, hate us and even those who have killed our loved ones. This is terribly hard to do. As Christ says, "Which is easier to do, to say rise up and walk, or, your sins are forgiven you?"