Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas : A season to seek and grant forgiveness

Christ a symbol of Humility and forgiveness

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas it may be pertinent for us to reflect of its true meaning in our lives particularly in our relationship with those we encounter including fellow parishioners. In many parishes there is so much politicking going on that radiates a lot of ill feelings and hatred which is becoming very unchristian.

Our priests continue to give beautiful and powerful sermons Sunday after Sunday during the season of Advent stressing on the importance of getting rid of our sinful ways in order to receive Jesus into our hearts this Christmas. However these sermons go unheeded to a large extent for various reasons. When even the priests do not follow the very sermons they preach from the pulpit, how we can expect the people to do so. Infighting, acts of revenge and jealousy continue to prevail in our lives outside and inside the Church.

Whenever somebody goes against our wish we are ready to confront him to put him down. Whenever someone hurts us we quickly retaliate with anger and revenge trying to overwhelm him with our power, wealth and influence. The solutions to most inter-personal problems are easy – to dialogue in a spirit of love and goodwill, but very often we choose confrontation and revenge instead.

We fail to realize that those who rebel against us may in fact be crying out for help which we are too arrogant to ignore, ridicule and look down with contempt. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go down to them and listen to their grouses and see what can be done to win their hearts instead of challenging them with our power and might?

There is no place for humility and forgiveness in our dealings with those we encounter, only arrogance, pride and egoism. We rush to make the pre-Christmas confession but are not willing to forgive those who hurt us. It is easy to say sorry to God but not to say that personally to the one whom we hurt. How can we expect God to forgive us when we are not willing to personally ask forgiveness from those we hurt? We say we are followers of Christ but ignore the basic lesson he taught us, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”.

If we reflect on our attitude towards fellow humans we will admit that Christ is becoming increasingly irrelevant in our lives in this highly materialistic and immoral world driven by greed and selfishness. We claim to be following Christ but there are hardly anything Christ-like in our lives other than steadfastly holding on to rituals. Where are all these leading us?

The two great virtues expounded by Jesus were humility and forgiveness which he demonstrated to the extreme by His Passion and death on the cross. His birth into the world in an environment of extreme poverty was another example of his humility which we are commemorating this Christmas. Each one us has some degree of arrogance, pride and egoism in us, which are the sins that we must get rid from our lives during this Christmas to attain the peace that Christ promised.

If Christ was a symbol of humility and forgiveness what are we? As we prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus into our homes and hearts this Chritmas, let us look around to see how we can become more Christ-like in our own lives, in our family, our office, our neighborhood and in our own BEC and parish.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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