This beautifuhonoured for exceptional acts of charitable kindness and dedication of their lives to changing the world by helping suffering and poor people. And it was so apt, so impactful that this was showing on Christmas morning. l Christmas morning I watched the 2017 CNN Heroes, in which extraordinary men and women were
Humanity is disemboweled when tribalism, racism, religious extremism, exploitation and hatred rule our hearts. To hate or to be disdainful of others is to dehumanize the other person, to deny the universality of mankind. But man is one human tree. Our colour, size, weakness, strength and station in life merely express beautiful spectrums of the same colour. When therefore we discriminate, exploit and hate, we tear at our family tree. We distort the rainbow colours and umbrella beauty of our humanity.
We destroy therefore human progress with evil. Imagine how many geniuses and other great gifts to mankind that may have been murdered during the transatlantic slave trade or the two world wars to name a few of the horrendous follies of man in the name of hate.
It is therefore not a surprise that God Almighty has consistently drawn man to the divinity of loving neighbour, called man to give succor to the hated, the underprivileged, the abused, the scorned. For in lifting the neighbour, the energy of love courses through the tree of humanity so that its various flowers in rainbow colours may bloom in one beautiful strength against the desolation of evil.
It is not amazing therefore that when Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Son of the Most High was born, the divine light from Heaven arrived earth with strong symbolisms of love and relationships with the lowly and despised of men. Jesus could have been born in any of the princely homes of the Jewish religious aristocracy. But he was born in a manger because there were no rooms in an inn. Today, no palace is revered and celebrated as the lowly manger in Bethlehem to which millions of tourists pour from all over the world, annually.
For into that lowly place came the light of salvation into the darkness of the world. Apostle John said: "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1:5. The apostle added: "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." John 1:10.
Indeed the world knew him not. He came to a lowly place but those expecting him thought he would come from among the mighty and from palaces. But Jesus made a statement with his choice of the lowly which we despise. While the high and mighty snored in ignorance, it is again the lowly that had the privilege of being first to know of his birth.
There were the lowly shepherds in the open night fields in the outskirts of the city. It is to these men who man labels and disdains as poor that angels appeared to announce: "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11.
There is also the other group of men ordinarily labeled as Gentiles or unholy men but who the Bible describes as wise men from the east. They had the unusual gift of knowledge of Jesus birth. For they saw his star in the east and came all the way to Israel, to Bethlehem to worship the saviour. When they saw him, they fell down, and worshipped him: and presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And guess what? God was with these Gentiles for the Bible says: "And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way." Matthew 2:12
God Almighty is with the lowly and the despised. He created all of man and sees good hearts in the disregarded. He pities the tormented, enslaved and exploited. The blessed Virgin Mary said: "He has cast down the mighty from thrones and has raised up the lowly.” Luke 1:52. And in announcing his earthly mission Jesus declared: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Luke 4:18-19
These words of light delivered two thousand years ago, remains largely unheeded by man who continues to dehumanize his neighbor through tribalism, racism, enslavement, cheating, stealing, disdain, hatred. In the process he sprouts evil and destroys love, the very sap of life which the tree of humanity needs to blossom and prosper. How can man overcome this mighty challenge?
It is by repentance. By seeking forgiveness. By charity. Christmas is the day the light of repentance, forgiveness and charity came to destroy the darkness of hatred and oppression. Have you embraced the light? Did you today, Christmas Day, repent, seek divine forgiveness, was charitable and give of your many gifts, spiritual and physical, to the less fortunate?
Let's not forget to embrace the light and wisdom and divine mercy of Jesus Christ so that we strengthen humanity with love this holy season. May the Good Lord protect us, as we strive, with his right arm of righteousness. Amen.