[imc-qc] News - Reflections from PREDA and Fr. Shay Cullen,
Philippines # 158
PREDA Information Office
predair at info.com.ph
Mon Dec 27 19:32:17 PST 2004
God is found in the pushcarts of the poor
(republishing, copying, no restrictions)
By: Father Shay Cullen
Christmas above all else is the celebration of the message of Jesus Christ.
He brought into the world a startling new and unheard of insight, a
revelation so simple that so called learned scholars of his day couldn't
accept it. Their idea of God was an almighty creator ruling the world with
punishment and condemnation and only the ritually pure; the highest of
worldly and religious status would be acceptable to God. Everyone else was
sinners, unclean and unwanted.
If you and I were around in the time of Jesus we would be treated as
outcasts and unacceptable pagans. We would be on the lowest rung of the
social and economic ladder-beggars sitting at the gates of Jerusalem or
Jericho. There was a chance too that we would have seen Jesus and could
have been blessed and greeted by him.
If we were well off like we are today he would've looked at our fine
clothes and wealthy appearance and told us to sell most of it and be his
disciples and love others as we would want ourselves to be loved. We would
have been challenged, shocked and desperate to know what decision to make.
That decision is still with us today. The challenge has not been taken
away, the invitation to be with Him and experience love is still there.
The message of Jesus is so basic, so simple and yet profound. He taught
that if you desire to experience the deepest oneness of fulfillment and
genuine love, and be loved simply for yourself then forget give up that
desire. That is a shock. How can we fulfill a desire we eliminate? There
will be nothing to fulfill. Well that's the secret, God is love and we have
to forget yourselves and our need to be loved and start caring about others
who are deprived and dehumanized. That's the wisdom of Jesus-the prophet
and teacher who revolutionized the world and upset the religious and
political leaders and it still troubles all of us. This is really the
meaning of his presence, his birth into the world.
This mysterious message of self-denial and service to the poor and all who
were on the fringes of society. These so called unclean, unwanted,
unacceptable people, the pagans, the sinners, the prisoners, and the lepers
were now the number one in the roll call of Jesus of Nazareth. These were
the people through whom God choose to reveal Himself.
This is what had branded him as a trouble maker, a heretic, a scandal to
all. He had the audacity, this Carpenter from Galilee born in an animal
cave-to question the entire teaching of Judaism about the nature of God. It
is a revelation that has rocked the world ever since. This has been the
uncomfortable truth that the pious and the elite want to deny, cover up and
reject. In doing that they reject Jesus himself.
For each of us to meet God in these people there is this cultural,
economic, and human barrier we have to cross. That's no easy task
especially if you have been fortunate enough to have been born in to a life
of material prosperity.
To find the deepest experience of God, that holy grail of human and divine
encounter and oneness, there is the need to purify oneself through
commitment, self-giving and sharing. You have to pass your humanity to them
to make them human again in feeling, mind and heart. They have been robbed
of everything that makes one human and a child of God.
Jesus' greatest desire was to lead others to experience the presence of the
creator in these so called nobodies. That's a worldly way of looking at
people, for God to every one of us is important, precious and of greatest
value and dignity.
To cross this barrier and experience God behind bars, in the slums, and the
pushcarts of the poor there needs to be preparation, spiritual training
where hardship needs to be endured, pain suffered, a plague of despair and
doubt perhaps for a while and then having persevered with unwavering faith
God will reveal His presence. [End]
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