Christmas a Scandal in the Church

By Santy Asanuma —-

Imagine saying that the family of Jesus was not perfect during the middle age Europe especially in Spain, France, or Italy which were the cradle of Christianity. People would cry blasphemy! And heads would be rolling from the guillotine or public hanging or water boarding (orros ra rechad) would definitely take place for those who are found guilty in speaking against the Christian faith or the church in the slightest or casual manner. The church was not an issue that one would discuss likely let alone its teachings.

But this was said in a Catholic Church in Idid Koror after Bopha and on the last Sunday of Advent before Christmas Day. And it came from the mouth of an ordained priest who was the main celebrant of the mass. This was definitely not the usual homily or references on Jesus that I am used to hearing in the church. However, the only reaction that I heard from the Catholics in the mass was light laughter in response to the interesting analysis of Jesus’ family.

The image of Mother Mary and Elizabeth, who are both pregnant, was projected by a projector on the wall with the inscription “The Two Women Mentors for Christmas.” Maybe because of faith I have wanted Jesus to be someone that he is not. The priest referred to the reading from the book of Micah and saying that we should tone down our glamorizing the Holy Family. And he began to say that Mary and Elizabeth were the center of scandal/gossip of the town.

He said, “First nobody really knew where Bethlehem was, and besides, it was a lowly place in the Jewish community. These people were from an unknown place and had no real social status to speak of. Besides, Mary was pregnant at a tender age of 14 years old and not married yet. Plus, Elizabeth was old and barren so becoming pregnant would turn heads in public. These things were outrageous according to Jewish customs; therefore, these two women were definitely good source for gossips in the town.”

I sat listening while in reflection to this homily and thought to myself on which family in Palau would be the perfect family. Once upon a time when I was a young boy, I used to admire certain families as ideal families because I thought they were perfect. But at this age and knowing that every family has its own problems, I am afraid that I can no longer in confidence nominate any family as being perfect.

With Bopha that literally turned Palau upside down with devastation that everybody seems to agree to be more severe (lemuut el meringel a telemelel) than any storm in recent history in terms of damage to homes, loss of properties, food crops, and destruction of some of the traditional and historical permanent landmarks, I find it very hard to believe that any family at this point and time in Palau cares to be perfect.

The only consoling (osubedreng) that I can think of is how merciful God is for manifesting himself in such humanity and humility (ngariou el reng) among humankind to make sure that everyone can be considered worthy of God’s calling. So regardless of how imperfect your family is go ahead and have a Merry Christmas. God Bless 2012.

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