Jesus is born on the outskirts of Bethlehem, in a shelter for animals in bad weather. There, yes, is where to find and touch him, and be touched by him.
“Poignant and powerful, this is a real song, maybe just too real for some tastes.” It is one of the many comments on Simon & Garfunkel’s “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night.” Yes, there are those who find the song not to their in taste.
They say that we should not spoil Christmas. For it is a time to forget problems and the bad news. So, it looks like there are Christians who give those who follow Marx reason to find religion to be an escape mechanism.
Those who see faith as a tranquilizer lead those who make fun of it to do so more boldly. The taunters ask the one who has faith where his or her God is (Ps 42, 11; see also Jb 2, 9).
But if we flee from the mysteries of sorrow, will we find and know those of joy, light and glory? And Jesus makes the Father known fully and definitively especially through his death and resurrection (DV 4). Hence, to find upsetting Jesus’ suffering means to skew the Paschal Mystery, to lack true joy (Jn 16, 22). To be upset so is to choose but the joy, light and glory that fade.
And Jesus suffers in the poor, the nameless victims of injustice, greed, lack of concern and lies we hear about in the news. For he teaches this to us quite clearly. He says, for instance, that he is the least of his brothers and sisters that we welcome or not welcome. Also, that those who persecute his followers persecute him (Acts 9, 5).
Find Jesus on the outskirts
Saul and those who do not believe in Jesus nor know him can be spared (1 Tim 1, 13). But what about us who believe in him and know him?
God, yes, has kindly given us the grace to believe in Jesus and to know where to find him. Why, then, do we look for him among the wise from whom God hides the Paschal Mystery? Why do we try to find him among those who think that their worth shows in their clothes? Among those who crave for seats of honor and power? Is it not enough that he tells us that the normal is not for us? For he says that those among us who wish to be great will be our servants.
And, of course, today’s mystery shows us the Savior as though nothing like a child (SV.EN VI:170). He is wrapped in swaddling clothes like other babies. But he lies in a trough for animals to eat from, ready not to consume, but to be consumed. To give us his flesh as food and his blood as drink.
God, yes, does a new thing that now springs forth, do we not see it? We cannot find God or his Anointed the normal way. That is to say, he is not in places where the world expects to see him. To worship God means “to leave God for God” (SV.EN IX:252). And this is not pseudo-religion, but the one that is pure and has no stain (Jas 1, 27; see also). For the poor are Good News, not bad news, as the world, which taunts them, thinks they are.
Lord Jesus, give us eyes and a heart that go out to the poor. And help us find you on the outskirt.
25 December 2021
Nativity of the Lord
Night: Is 9, 1-6; Tit 2, 11-14; Lk 2, 1-14 * Dawn: Is 62, 11-12; Tit 3, 4-7; Lk 2, 15-20 * Day: Is 52, 7-10; Heb 1, 1-6; Jn 1, 1-18