What is it like to be “homeless”? Countless of people are “homeless” this Christmas. The Advent season of Peace, Hope, Joy and Love now explodes into the Light that offers the gift of “Salvation” to all peoples at Christmas. Yet, people continue to live in the darkness of their pain and suffering.
The “homeless” are those who live in the streets. They are those who swallow their pride and dignity as the voiceless and faceless members of society who are so often shunned, disregarded and accused of lying whenever they seek some support.
How many of us are guilty of consciously or unconsciously inflicting such pain on these “homeless”? Some questions we Christians, could reflect on, especially during the Christmas season might be: What if the tables were turned and we suddenly find ourselves destitute and homeless on the streets? How would this piercing rejection and ridicule feel like for us?
The “homeless” are not limited to those who live on the streets. They include those who live in their well-sheltered and even luxurious houses but suffer great loneliness because their homes are deprived of the dignity, respect and warm love of family, friends and relatives. Spouses and children are cold, calculative and even cruel towards one another and their elderly.
The “homeless” also include those who possess all the external pleasures, power and prestige of this secular world, but whose souls continue to thirst for the depth of the true meaning of life. Their relentless pursuit of power and fame are fantasies; they remain hollow and hearts feel restless, lonely and helpless.
How then and where do we move from such desperate darkness? Christmas is a celebration of “Life, Light and Love”. The Gospel of John (1: 4-5) tells us, “All that came to be had life in Him and that Life was the Light of men, a Light that shines in the dark, a Light that darkness could not overpower.”
Every human person, regardless of how helpless or “homeless” we are, can choose to live in the True Hope that God, our Lord and Creator wants for each of us. Every person is loved by God; each one is God’s precious child, regardless of how we may choose to turn away from His Light of Truth and Salvation.
Every heart has the conscience and the “Light” within to choose to walk towards the Light of Christ that dispels the darkness and loneliness of hearts and the emptiness of our homes. The Light of Christ overcomes darkness and evil that promote division, fuel destruction and tempt the hearts of the vulnerable, lost and disillusioned of the secular world.
However, those who choose to walk in humility towards this “Light” will experience the restoration of broken relationships in families and a renewal of hope.
Some personal pointers for a reflection on the quality of our daily living might be appropriate: (these pointers are distinct, but inseparably linked).
* Is our daily living one of “restlessness, helplessness and even hopelessness?”
* Have I been too preoccupied with chasing the “external” achievements (e.g. secular success and social status) such that my basic relationships within my home and the respect and care for others have become secondary and unimportant?
* Is our assertion of “autonomy” (i.e. of what I want to do with my life, regardless of how this can cause pain and suffering to others, especially our loved ones) ironically not a denial of the truth of my own “insecurities” and “empty living”?
Proposed reflection on how to live in God’s Light, Life and Love:
* Search within our hearts for the Truth: Do I respect every person, the “homeless” – whom I may be prejudiced against, including those who have hurt and harmed us deeply?
* Pray for God’s graces to have the wisdom to live in His Light, Life and Love, that Jesus has shown us, as He has proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
* God’s Light will enlighten . . . His Life will transform . . . and His Love will permeate our hearts and warm our homes with the special graces of the Christmas season. Do we want this for this Christmas?
Msgr Heng is the Rector of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.