Monday, December 14, 2009
I watched them twice in two days and since then they never left my memory. I am speaking about a little known band of the "Christmas Wish" missionaries that performed at Jesus the King Church. They are young adults in their 20s. Their mission, as I understand it, is to play and sing Christmas carols to people in homeless shelter houses, orphanages, senior homes, churches, public places, and every other corner of the city. They are not particularly professional but they impressed almost everyone who watched them in the Church with their joy radiating from their little faces. Their leader claims to have received a mission from God. Michael is from Australia. He toured many countries performing his mission! His team that I saw is made up of adult girls and boys that live here yet they belong to the world from Japan to Brazil. I wondered how they survive unless they do it as a hobby on the side, but my wonder grew to admiration of those dancers/singers who can attract so many people only because they smile in spite of hardship. Which brings me to the claim that the world is falling away into sin. Yes, there is ample sin in the world. I particularly experience hardship these days at work and with it a cross I hope I will endure. And who lacks a cross? Many of my relatives and friends are experiencing hardship in many ways - some have lost their jobs, others their spouses through divorce, others are seeking to marry but unable to find their future spouses, families are suffering, others are lonely and yet others are sick mentally or bodily. Today I was told that a young girl in grade 10 has been diagnosed with leukemia. And in the dilemma of experiencing evil, it is pervasive in the entire world - My pride is one of them...The dilemma is multiplied by the fact that almost every man and woman born in this world have a wounded nature and selfish tendency. I see structures of hypocricy, political correctness, manners without value, society without dignity, and corporate slavery to the boss who is a god to his enslaved employees or subjects. This is why I experience our need of God's mercy. It is not on earth although it can start here if man risks his pride and "falls in love." It is all about fear for the self. We must hope for the blessed life in heaven for all those who open their hearts to God and repent. Against all thoughts that promote the idea of a just God, I believe that God is all merciful; his justice is only a reflection of his love, and has no sense of revenge as we do. When the Lord in the Bible says "Revenge is (reserved) to me," he, as a father, disciplines his children to grow and mature but never does he revenge. The revenge intended in the Bible is a disciplinary act and not a destructive act of a vengeful God. I also experience the need for each other, to pray for each other and think of each other in the Holy Spirit, the love which the Church calls the communion of saints. The communion of saints, as far as I understand it, includes the love expressed in prayers of saints in heaven, those of souls in purgatory, and prayers of the Church on earth. This continues till the end of the world. The Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the angels and saints are praying God in heaven, and to their prayers are added those of souls in purgatory, and those on earth especially the Eucharistic prayer in every Mass in which calvary is re-presented through the offering of Christ himself. That is why Paul the great apostle was able to say that he completes what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. The result if truly lived is the joy experienced in this "Christmas Wish" missionary band. The incarnation of God in Christ was nothing short of a new world - a new song of joy. In spite of being born silently in a manger, Christ was sought by Herod for fear that he will be overthrown. The king was fearful and in his vengeance he killed those children as we kill the unborn today. Yet Christ did not overthrow Herod. He escaped from the tyrant to give him a chance. And the chance is still available to us. The entire story of Christmas is here again. The invitation is open. God is with us. But would we risk our habits of indulging into every party and spending to remember the angelic hymn? Let's forget ourselves for a few days, listen to God's voice and shout: Joy to the world!