You know, I've been chilling out, looking around, walking the streets of Bangkok, the Slums, and the Slaughter House, these last few days, looking for Jesus. Our Scriptures say that He had to die and three days later would rise from the dead.
Our women said they saw Him and He talked nicely to them, didn't scold them, nor the men for being afraid. So for sure, He won't scold you and me, and certainly
not our slum street kids.
When I was seven - a farm kid in South Dakota with mom and baby sister and brother, one pair of bib over-alls and hand-me-down work shoes from a neighbor kid - I got really sick once and a holy old priest told me that I would get well by Easter Time.
And I did, and we all can “get well” by Easter Time. If we want to.
The words of that old priest - "Joey, with Jesus’ guidance you’ll get well by Easter” - changed my life; and now, I, an old priest, 46 years “in the harness,” can tell you my brothers and sisters that all of us “with the help of Jesus, can, should get well” by Easter. Unless, we forget, or don't want to.
True, once a year, we Catholics have these glorious liturgical ceremonies when we retell our Sacred Truths in Ritual and Song. They go back almost two thousand Years. And they're proper and "churchy" but that's a privilege for a few. For we, children of a lesser god, need to say our prayers and to notice our brothers and sisters wherever we meet them. Even just to nod our head, or say hello.
And oftentimes, you've got to “give an inch or so,” like the dried-out trampled-on grass on the playground here at Mercy Centre. The grass says: “Hey! We'll lay low for a while cuz we've got all these 200 bare feet orphans and aids kids plus their friends playing here every day. So, we, the grass will go away for a while. When the rainy season comes, we'll be back. Don't worry.”
And we got this Aids guy. Been with us a couple-three years, he don't sleep much at night cuz of his aches and pains, and he can't talk too well, but he can moan really loud. So he helps out at Mercy Centre as a kind of nighttime guard, so the house moms and dads can get some sleep.
And these totally un-pedigreed puppy dogs out in front of our house: when they see someone dressed nice, they bark! But dress, you know, Klong Toey Slum style, and
they are totally friendly, even want their ears rubbed. But, don't get me wrong...they sniff out the thiefs, growl, chase them away.
Like blind seven-year-old Miss Phon, when her Aids kicks in, she never quite makes it to the bathroom on time, so all the girls help change her Nappies. And someone dumped a new baby on our doorstep recently and our abandoned kids feel so lucky as to have a new baby brother. And these are our Easter Blessings.
In our Ritual, we ceremoniously Bless the Fire, the Water, the Earth and Air and we light our candles and we tell the darkness we ain't afraid, so don't you be afraid either.
So Happy Easter. Meet you at the Jubilee- with the Lord Jesus. He's there, with you, with me and our kids. He's there.
All you good folks out there, my brothers and sisters, don't forget Easter. Don't be afraid. Help us when you can.... and if you can't...but really you always can help someone. If there's a poor kid in your neighborhood, help them first; and if there is anything left over… do remember Fr Joe and our hero kids here.
Meet you at the Easter Jubilee - Blessings