Homily for the feast of the Nativity - Mass in the night - Lk. 2:1-14


by

Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.


"And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.


"And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, « Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. » And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, « Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased! » "




Homily:


"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child."


On this evening Christmas, let us transport ourselves in mind toward this city of Bethléhem, the city of David, there where the Savior of the world was born about two thousand years ago. Let us go there in spirit of obedience, let us follow Joseph, who took away Mary with him to Bethléhem, in order to be enrolled like a plain citizen. Let us strip ourselves from our own judgment, from all human consideration, because here, all is divine, all is an unfathomable and impenetrable Mystery for he who is not small like the one who is being born in a manger. Let us follow the Spirit of God, let look at him being at work in this marvelous adventure of the Birth of the Son of God!


"And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."


It is clear, and yet incomprehensible! It is clear, because there is no place for a God among men! It is clear: that men do not want to receive God! Soon Jesus will be put on the cross, a cross which began in Bethléhem! But it is incomprehensible, because God deserves that we should welcome him like the Lord of the Universe, and not like a useless one whom we send to a stall! It is true that the contemporaries of Jesus did not know that the Child of Mary was a God. But should we not love our neighbor like ourselves? Is not the love of the neighbor the measurement of our love towards God? Does Joseph come in the city of his family? And nobody welcomes him...? Truly, it is incomprehensible!


"And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, « Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. » "


Behold, however, the action of the Spirit of God! It is vivid and surprising, it arranges all things in order to fully remedy to all the defaults of men! God admirably created the world, but in the Resurrection of Christ, this same creation receives a more beautiful splendor than that of its origin. Men do not receive Jesus in their homes. Therefore, God is preparing for his Son a more splendid dwelling than those of men: this new dwelling will be the hearts of the poor shepherds, and especially those of Mary and Joseph!


The good news is for the heart of a poor, for those hearts who do not endeavour to acquire the possessions of this world, but who are listening to the words of the Spirit of God, who is speaking through the angels, faithful servants of the Spirit of God. The shepherds receive a sign, because the Spirit of God speaks by signs: the shepherds are called to contemplate this sign of a newborn lying in a manger, they are called to understand what God wants to tell to them internally by all these things which they are living as privileged witnesses. Behold the Christmas Mystery! It is all wholly perfected in our heart, because God wants to dwell there! Behold the Christmas Mystery: to welcome God in our heart, through Mary!



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