Most of us are familiar with a Christmas Parable written by Louis Cassels many years ago, one of the religion editors of United Press International. On Christmas night everyone went to midnight service. This gentle man thought it would be hypocrisy if he went along with his family to the service because he did not believe that God would come down as a human being. Soon after, there was a snow storm and he was just relaxing and he heard some thundering sound by the door. Due to the heavy snow some birds were out of their nest and they were trying to get into the house and were banging against the closed glass door. He went out to let them in rather than let them die in the cold by banging against a glass door. As soon as he would go out the birds will fly away, being scared. He went out into the cold and spread some grain and lead them to the door but still he failed to get them in. If only he could become a bird and lead them into the house and keep them warm he felt. Finally he heard the church bells ringing and realized why Jesus would have taken the pain of becoming human to save the world.
This was the only way Jesus could save us and bring good tidings of peace and joy to save us. Every religion teaches the way to redemption, salivation and reaching God. You need to follow a discipline, ideology, set of prayers, meditation, pattern, go for pilgrimage, offer sacrifices, do penance for reaching God or attaining salvation. It is a herculean task or a trophy for the perfection you have achieved in life. In Jesus what we see is totally opposite. It is Jesus Himself coming down to us. God becoming man and Emmanuel, God with us. Instead of humans trying desperately to reach God, an upward movement to a descent from heaven, God in His mercy and love, pouring His grace to restore us back to heavenly glory.
In Him we have the reversal of the concept of God. A king of kings born in a manger. An ordinary family finding no place in an inn and taking shelter among animals, the shepherds coming to greet Him, and an ordinary preacher who is nowhere in the list of princely or priestly class of the day. One who says to be great you need to be the slave of all. He is the one who proclaimed that there will be more joy in heaven over one who repents than over 99 righteous. Instead of being with the so called holy, mighty and powerful he became friend of the sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors. Instead of being in a safe environment, he goes out to touch the lepers and touches the blind to heal them. Instead of punishing the woman caught in adultery, he tells her go and sin no more. Instead of fighting for justice and suppressing the crime He gives His life in the hands of His persecutors for no sin of His. No more sacrifices, offerings and cruelty of any sort to any one, He offers Himself as a sacrifice for all our sins. We all have heard about tooth for tooth and eye for an eye, but He tells us to offer the other cheek for the one who slaps. “I am the life, the way and the truth,” He tells. Unless we follow this path we will have no peace. We are running away from the path that he has laid before us. The world refuted him then, and the world refutes us now and it will refute us. By following what the world tells us and not Jesus, we are only destroying ourselves.
A few days ago I was called to help someone in distress. She was not even a catholic. I went there I found this woman bedridden married for 51 years. She told me,“I called you because I want you to help me make my husband stop telling me, ‘keep your mouth shut.’” Wow! This is interesting that she needs me to make his mouth shut from saying, ’keep your mouth shut’ to her in his absence. I realized that this was a wild goose chase now. Where is the nearest door now? Then I said, “Wait a minute. I am sure we can’t change him but you can change your reaction to him.” I told her you have listened to his 51 years of ‘keep your mouth shut’ and reacted to it. Now offer no resistance and just let him go on as if he is talking to the wall. When he finds no resistance and no reaction from you he will keep quiet. Just as Jesus did to Pilot he did not answer and even forgave those who persecuted Him on the cross. I could see the glow on her face and the next thing she said was, “Can you leave now?” Problem was solved that easily. I could not believe it! Jesus has given us the only way, the way that will lead us to peace and joy on earth.
December 25, 2018