He was homeless. Got in trouble with law enforcement. Hung out with the wrong crowd. Was arrested. Betrayed and abandoned by his friends. Mocked, spit on, stripped, and beaten. He died a criminal’s death.
This was Jesus. He wasn’t from the North End, but from Nazareth. Still, I think he could relate to many in this neighbourhood.
He lived a simple life with not too much to call his own. He learned a common trade in order to get by. He told great stories, and cared more about people than image. He got angry with greed and was compassionate with the needy. He fed the hungry and reached out to the outsiders.
This was Jesus. He didn’t walk the streets of the North End, but I think he would be welcome here. He gave and gave and gave, right to the end of his life.
He was misunderstood, lied about, and mistreated; and yet, he didn’t fight back. He walked a path of peace.
He challenged the leaders of the day, he chastised the self-righteous, and he was a champion of the oppressed. He walked a path of justice.
He rescued a woman from death, he healed the sick, and he ate with outcasts. He walked a path of mercy.
When he walked the path of the cross, his mother was there, sobbing for the son she lost. His friends were devastated and confused over his untimely death. They couldn’t believe he was gone.
And on the third day, when the women came to the tomb and he was gone — nowhere to be found — they were frantic. Angels told them it was good news: he had risen just as he said.
He called Mary by name, he beckoned doubting Thomas to touch his hands and side, he walked and talked with two friends who didn’t recognize him until he paused to give thanks for a meal they were about to eat; and when he finally left the earth, he promised a counsellor and comforter would come and take his place.
Jesus walked among us as one of us. He embodied love. He enacted justice. His life, death, and return to life continue to give hope to people around the world. And hope is what we all need, especially here in the North End.
Sonya Braun is a North End-based writer.
Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Herald area and would like to contribute to this column, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.