Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Catechesis - Christmas: the surprises that God likes
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In six days it will be Christmas. Trees, decorations and lights everywhere remember that this year will be a party. The advertising machine invites to exchange always new gifts to be surprised. But I ask myself: is this the party that pleases God? Which Christmas would He like, what gifts, what surprises?
Let's look at the first Christmas of history to discover the tastes of God. That first Christmas of History was full of surprises. We start with Mary, who was the bride of Joseph: the angel arrives and changes her life. From a virgin she will be a mother. It continues with Giuseppe, called to be the father of a child without generating it. A son who - a twist - arrives at the least indicated moment, that is when Mary and Joseph were promised spouses and according to the Law they could not cohabit. Faced with the scandal, the good sense of the time invited Joseph to reject Mary and save his good name, but he, who had the right, is surprising: not to harm Maria thinks to dismiss her in secret, at the cost of losing his reputation . Then another surprise: God in a dream changes his plans and asks him to take Mary with him. Born Jesus, when he had his plans for the family, still in a dream he was told to get up and go to Egypt. In short, Christmas brings unexpected changes of life. And if we want to live Christmas, we must open our hearts and be ready for surprises, that is, an unexpected change of life.
But it is Christmas night that comes the biggest surprise: the Altissimo is a small child. The divine Word is an infant, which literally means "unable to speak". And the divine word became "unable to speak". There are no time or place authorities or ambassadors to welcome the Savior: no; they are simple shepherds who, surprised by the angels while working at night, rush without delay. Who would have expected it? Christmas is celebrating the unpublished God, or rather, celebrating an unpublished God, which overturns our logic and our expectations.
To do Christmas, then, is to welcome the surprises of Heaven on earth. You can not live "earth earth", when Heaven has brought its news into the world. Christmas inaugurates a new era, where life is not planned, but gives itself; where one no longer lives for himself, according to his own tastes, but for God; and with God, because from Christmas God is the God-with-us, who lives with us, who walks with us. To live Christmas is to be shaken by its surprising novelty. The Christmas of Jesus does not offer reassuring warmth of the fireplace, but the divine shiver that shakes the story. Christmas is the revenge of humility over arrogance, of simplicity over abundance, of silence over hubbub, of prayer over "my time", of God over my "I".
To do Christmas is to do like Jesus, come to those in need, and go down to those who need us. It is like Mary: trusting, docile to God, even without understanding what He will do. To do Christmas is to do like Joseph: to get up to achieve what God wants, even if it is not according to our plans. St. Joseph is surprising: in the Gospel he never speaks: there is not a word, of Joseph, in the Gospel; and the Lord speaks to him in silence, speaks to him in his sleep. Christmas is to prefer the silent voice of God to the noise of consumerism. If we can be silent in front of the crib, Christmas will be a surprise for us, not something already seen. Be silent in front of the crib: this is the invitation, for Christmas. Take some time, go in front of the crib and keep quiet. And you'll hear, you'll see the surprise.
Unfortunately, however, one can mistake party, and prefer the usual things of the earth to the news of Heaven. If Christmas is just a nice traditional party, where we and we are at the center, it will be a lost opportunity. Please do not let us mate Christmas! Let us not set aside the feast, as it was then, when "he came among his own, and his own did not welcome him" (Jn 1,11). Since the first Gospel of Advent, the Lord has warned us, asking not to weigh ourselves down in "dissipations" and "troubles of life" (Lk 21,34). These days we run, perhaps as never during the year. But this is the opposite of what Jesus wants. We blame the many things that fill the days, the world that goes fast. Yet Jesus did not blame the world, he asked us not to be dragged, to watch at any moment praying (see verse 36).
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