Fr. Ron Rolheiser
He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide.
Fr. Rolheiser can be reached at his website, www.ronrolheiser.com.
Our society tends to divide us into winners and losers. Sadly, we don’t often reflect on how this affects our relationships with each other, nor on what it means for us as Christians.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, that part of the Bible we call the Old Testament, we find a strong religious challenge to always welcome the stranger, the foreigner.
One of the dangers inherent in trying to live out a life of Christian fidelity is that we are prone to become embittered moralizers, older brothers of the prodigal son, angry and jealous at God’s over-generous mercy, bitter because persons who wander and stray can so easily access the heavenly banquet table.
The French novelist and essayist Léon Bloy once made this comment about God’s power in our world: “God seems to have condemned himself until the end of time not to exercise any immediate right of a master over a servant or a king over a subject. We can do what we want. He will defend Himself only by His patience and His beauty.”
Early Christian monks believed in something they called acedia. More colloquially, they called it the “noonday devil,” a name that essentially describes the concept.
Recently a man came to me, asking for help. He carried some deep wounds, not physical wounds, but emotional wounds to his soul.
Recently, while on the road giving a workshop, I took the opportunity to go the cathedral in that city for a Sunday Eucharist. I was taken aback by the homily.
Whenever we have been at our best, as Christians, we have opened our churches as sanctuaries to the poor and the endangered.
The Gospel stories about the birth of Jesus are not a simple retelling of the events that took place then, at the stable in Bethlehem.