Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
During the Day
December 25, 2017 Cycle B

by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We are together to celebrate Christmas. We are celebrating the “feast of the God who became flesh and established his dwelling in our midst (cf. Jn 1:14). […] God is not just some possible or impossible hypothesis concerning the origin of all things. He is present.”

Christmas is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Mt 1:21–23).

On Tuesday, I went to a nursing home to celebrate Mass. I was informed there that a man had asked for a priest. I went to visit him. He told me that this Christmas was his saddest one in 60 years. I told him that I would come on Christmas Day to visit him and bring him communion. He answered: “Thank you! You made my day! You made my day!” What makes our days is to know that “God is with us,” we are not abandoned to the darkness. The light of Heaven came and is really with us!

However, “there was no room for them in the inn” (Lk 2:7). Mary and Joseph had the bad experience that there was no room for them, there was no room for Baby Jesus.

During this Advent, I have been thinking about the meaning of the lack of room for them in the inn. What is this “inn” where there is no room for Jesus to be born?  The answer that I arrived at is that the “inn” represents ourselves, our humanity, our “I.” The inn is what is really important for us, what we love or what we possess. Unfortunately, there are areas in our lives where there is no room for Christ.

For the dominant mentality, Jesus and the Church (Joseph and Mary) are a nuisance. They are tolerated inside the temples but not accepted on the public square. They belong to religious moments but not to what is really important in world life. Religion is accepted as a kind of entertainment but is not recognized as the instrument that brings absolute meaning to life. The threats to religious liberty that our bishops are denouncing are examples of not having “room in the inn.”  The dominant mentality is also inside our minds and hearts. The secularist world abides within us.  In Mary, Joseph and the shepherds, there was room for Jesus. They were longing for the Messiah’s arrival. They were hungry and thirsty for divine righteousness.  They needed the presence of God. They were waiting for Emanuel.

How different our lives could be if we made room for Jesus! Encountering Him fills our hearts with joy and peace. In the same way that the shepherds rejoiced in the angels’ announcement, today we are also invited to rejoice in the Lord!

The celebration of Christmas should convince us that we are wanted, we are accepted and we are loved. It is good to be a human being, even during hard times. God’s presence among us makes us happy from deep inside.  Jesus came and will come. He is coming now. We are not lacking in spiritual gifts. The only thing that is lacking is our decision.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rv 3:20).  This Christmas, let us open the door to Baby Jesus. May the example and intercession of Mary and Joseph help us decide.  Amen.

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