CHRISTMAS HERALDS THE BIRTH OF THE ETERNAL GALILEAN
Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka|December 25, 2020
Two thousand years ago there lived in the humble sea-side hamlet of Nazareth to the south of Galilee in Palestine, a carpenter’s son by the name of Jesus.
Rev. Fr. Leopold Ratnasekera OMI

On the first-ever Christmas night, he was born under very adverse conditions far away from his hometown in the city of Bethlehem near Jerusalem, supposedly called the city of King David, the proverbial monarch of Israel from whose dynasty people expected their future Messiah to emerge. It was a cold winter’s night that saw Jesus born in a stable in the back yard of an inn. The mother wrapping up the infant in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger of straw for his bed. It was an incredible birth that was attested to by the angelic chorus that rang out over the hills glorifying God and announcing peace in the world to all people of goodwill. Those who had the privilege of coming to know this news, were the humble shepherds who were keeping their flocks by night nearby. Exultant with joy they hastened to the inn’s stable to gaze at the face of the newborn, So were the three wise men from the east who journeyed under the guidance of a strange star making their way to Bethlehem with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The babe that saw the light of day that night was destined to be the Eternal Galilean who would take on the world and its humanity with its struggles and hopes, making himself the Light of the world, the healer of all infirmities and a person who would bestow life in its fullness.

HIS TEACHINGS FOSTER PARADIGMS OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

The Magna Charta of his teaching is encapsulated in the much-celebrated and the classical Sermon on the Mount he delivered in the hillside of Galilee. He declared the poor to be blessed in his kingdom and pledged that the meek will inherit the land. Those who would risk being persecuted for his name’s sake and that of righteousness would be blessed too for their names would be immortal. He brought the good news of a God who forgives and takes to his embrace all sinners who amend their lives and begin anew along the path of virtue. To this teacher is attributed in the Bible some of the most fascinating and breathtaking parables about forgiveness such as that of the prodigal son who demands freedom and his inheritance, abusing it squandering in filth and debauchery but repenting later, returns home to be warmly embraced by the father who had awaited his return ever since he left home. Another is the parable of the good shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to look for the lost sheep and finding him puts him over his shoulders and begins to dance around in joy is yet another such touching story. Further, he taught the obligation of universal love and compassion in propounding the parable of the good Samaritan which has by now become in world literature and art an epic symbol of charity, love and concern for all those struck by misfortune and tragedy of some kind.

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