Christ Came into the World

Christ came into the world to ..

17 December marks the beginning of the octave before Christmas, and I was on lector duty for the evening Mass. What strikes me is that Christ came into the world to first and foremost, be in relationship with us. And the message from Archbishop’s reflection is about God asking us to be patient.

And then today, Facebook reminded me of a memory 3 years ago – it is a photo of me at Seven Fountains, Chiang Mai. That silent retreat is what sparked me on my journey to Catholicism, and it was a most amazing conversion experience.

The recent persecution and darkness that engulf me – tore me away from God’s light. And now I know, Christ came into the world, my world, to bring light so that darkness will retreat . . .I know that  this is the beginning, so I shall be patient, and trust in His mercy and His plans.

I am waiting for … …

Lord God, Heavenly Father, You promised me salvation and eternal life, You showed me that there is a new way of living, and You told me that you have my best interests & all I ever need to do is to trust in You.

And hence I am waiting for you to show me the life-line, to show me that there is indeed a better life, a life that is full of joy and peace and love, a life that is sinless. Father, you know that I dare not let go of my old ways, for I am fearful that there is nothing else for me to hold on to. It is like a float that is full of holes – I know it will not help me keep afloat for long, yet, in the absence of any other float in sight, I stubbornly hold on to this float, which I know will bring me down eventually.

Father, I know, at least intellectually, that it is when one door closes, that another door will open. I know that you have reached out to me, and I am the one who refuses to see. I am like the man who fell off the cliff and hanging on to a branch hear your voice gently say “let go”, yet the man refuses, for in the darkness of the night he does not realize that he is only an inch above the ground. Lord, I know these theories, yet to put them into practice, to really let go, seem just too hard.

And now, I am waiting for the purification to be over. I am waiting for you to open the other door for me. I am waiting for that life, no matter how difficult and high the standard seems to be, to become real in my life – that I can finally live as you want me to, love as you command me to, and laugh as you desire me to.

Developing the relationship with God, strengthening it, and putting in time and effort in building it.

Analogy of a diamond, which has to go through the pressure and time passage, to turn from carbon to diamond.

Unto us a savior has been born

And so what does that mean to the world? whose world? my world? the rest of the world?

How often do we think that Christ came for the whole world? The world that is foreign to us, a culture totally different, a place I have never been to? And when I think like this, I begin to realize God’s wonder – that His love is so universal, that it does not differentiate. I read today the National Geographic article on Mother Mary, and how the Mexicans revere Mother Mary as part of their identity. And how Mother Mary appeared to an unknown town in Africa and foretold the senseless killing in Rwanda.

Unto us a savior has been born, and “us” is part of the universal church, part of this world, everyone on this earth. “Us” is no longer just me and my loved ones, the country that I live in, the ministries where I serve. And suddenly, my problems and my misery and my sufferings became insignificant in the greater scheme of things. And in comparison, I should really count my blessings.

The man without an email address, one who couldn’t afford a computer, and lost the job application to be an office boy because the interviewer cannot inform him via an email, went on to use whatever gifts he was given and succeeded. I like the story, not only because of the twist, not just on the man’s tenacity, but because it challenges our thinking – We couldn’t imagine living the modern life without an email address, and yet those without, can make do, count their blessings, and truly live the life that epitomizes “unto us a savior has been born”.

Nativity scene – imagine I am the maid servant journeying with Mary and Joseph.

These too shall pass.

And the world says the baby is going to be a King, a Saviour, a Messiah.

There are  anticipations and expectations. The world will change, the oppressed will be saved, the tyrant will be overthrown. My life will become better, because He is going to be born.

But how can that be? When He is going to be born in a manger. How is He even going to grow up? Will He even have enough food for Himself? Who is going to clothe Him? How is He going to learn the scriptures? Who will teach Him?

I don’t know about the world and its expectations of Him. I only know the harshness of life before me. I worry for His upbringing – the real hardships facing us now. The promises, are well, just promises that may or may not come true in the future. But what is facing me now is real.

Yet, looking at Mary and Joseph and sensing their peace and joy, I know this Baby is not going to be just some ordinary baby. Their serenity inspires me to have faith and hope. Yes, I don’t know how this Baby is going to become a King, but somehow, I know deep inside me, that no matter what the hardships facing this Boy, these too shall pass, and in the end, He will triumph.

 

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