In the next week, churches around the world will swell with people as they come to re-member themselves to the story of Jesus, of Emmanuel come to ransom us, of a Lord who transforms Empire. There will be singing of songs that we seem to know in our souls, Scripture will be read, nice clothes will be worn and families reassembled.
Take an hour out of the busy-ness that ramps up to Christmas and listen to this truly special voice and the message he reminds us of. Vanier captures some of the truly extraordinary nature of Jesus:
Jesus was coming to change the whole order of things. And at
the heart of that order was the poor, the blind, the lame, and
the sick. And so these people would come rushing, all those who
were marginal would come rushing to him, seeking strength, seeking
compassion, seeking healing. One moment Jesus describes this
vision, when he talks about a king giving a wedding feast for
the son, and he sends out invitations, and all the table is beautifully
laid, and all the people, the worthy citizens, they all refuse.
I cannot come, I haven't time, I bought land and I must go and
tend it, I bought a pair of oxen and I must work on them, my daughter
is getting married and I have to be there--frequently those who
are rich, who are in power, they haven't time. So the king gets
angry and he sends the servants into the highways and the byways--Bring
in the poor, the lame, the sick, the blind, and of course they
come rushing in. So we find that in the whole vision of humanity,
God is feared, God is not wanted, and on the other side, God is
I pray that I - that we - can stretch to embody what Vanier speaks of when he says:
To be a friend to the poor is demanding. The anchor us in the reality
of pain; they make it impossible for us to escape into ideas or dreams.
Their cry for solidarity obliges us to make choices, deepen our
spiritual lives and put love at the heart of our daily lives. It