Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve



Luke 2: 1 - 14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Reflection

Everything works together to deepen the mystery of this new presence in the solitude of Christmas night, making it more intimate, more divine. Joseph and Mary's outward poverty is, as it were, the guardian of this mystery. If Joseph and Mary had looked like they were rich, people would have made room for them in the inn because of Mary's condition. They would have turned out other less important guests; they would have found a way to keep them and the mystery of the birth of Jesus would no longer have this solitude and silence. It would have happened in the midst of noise. This is not the way in which God visits our earth! On the contrary, poverty must prepare the way and push aside all those who seek only earthly possessions, all those who think only of settling on earth.

When it comes to the mystery of the Incarnate Word's first visit to this world, poverty has done its job so well that there is no one left except Mary and Joseph. When poverty is loved and accepted, there is true solitude. It is this solitude of Mary and Joseph that Jesus comes to live, and to reveal, to give, and to surrender Himself.

~ From The Daily Gospel with Fr. Philippe, OP (Priest, Philosophy Professor, Founder of the Community of St. John) compiled by the Sisters of of St. John

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