"I shall be filled with the vision of you, Lord"

(Psalm 17.15)

Strange people.
Not understood by the majority.
People who distanced themselves from the mindset of society
- that promises a lot but gives out so little -
in order to save society.
People who despite the fact that many times
had no riches, sexual coarseness or autonomy,
yet were so contented.

People like St Francis who leaves the life of a spineless young man
in order to embrace poverty and walk through the streets of Assisi
shouting: "Love is not loved!"
People like St Clare, a beautiful eighteen year old girl
who severs all ties from the comforts of a soft life, cuts her hair and leaves home
so that she would belong to Christ alone!
People like St Teresa of Jesus, a smart, practical woman
with a good sense of humour who closes herself within four walls
because she claims that "God alone is enough".
People like St John of the Cross, a serious, intelligent lad
full of love for nature and author of passional poems of love
that even today shock many scrupulous people.
People like St Ignatius of Loyola who wounded by God's love,
sets up a whole army of people
who want to work for God's greater glory.

Very strange people.
But in their strangeness they found the secret of joy.
True joy.
The joy that never ends.
They found in Jesus Christ what they always desired
what they always looked for.
And when they found him… they did not allow anyone to steal him from them!
One has to be downright stupid to abandon the love of one's heart!

However the question is 'which Jesus Christ did they find?'
The Jesus Christ of the holy pictures… soft, colourless, syrupy?!
The Jesus Christ of devotions… sweet and sugary?
Or the Jesus Christ of the Gospel?!

The cheerful Jesus Christ,
who used to go to weddings and enjoy himself.
The one whom children just adored.
The one whose enemies branded as 'a glutton and a drunkard',
Who even allowed others - and I suppose you know who these others were! -
to anoint him with perfume,
and who told us to put on perfume when we fast.

The Jesus Christ that I know was very happy with life!
The son of working class people,
he enjoyed everyone's company.
But preferred the kind of people,
whom society normally emarginates:
the poor, blue collar workers, sick, prostitutes.
He always knew what he wanted,
and moved forward
despite criticism and denigration of others.
Especially when his Father's glory or the good of others were concerned.

And his joy was so contagious
That even today anyone who frequents him is mesmerized with unspeakable joy.

We too can follow His footsteps.
But beware… society will yet again start labelling us as 'strange'.
Remember that
the only place the system found for Him
was a cross on a hill outside the city.
The disciple cannot be better than his Master!
Isn't that so?

As for me, I'd rather be on a cross and happy,
than on a soft bed but sad!


"The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me
for Yahweh has anointed me
to soothe the broken-hearted
to comfort all who mourn in Zion,
to give them for ashes a garland,
for mourning-dress, the oil of gladness,
instead of disgrace, shouts of joy will be their lot.
My soul rejoices in my God,
For he has clothed me in garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me in a cloak of saving justice,
like a bridegroom wearing his garland,
like a bride adorned in her jewels
(Isaiah 61,1-2.10)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.