By FR. ROBERT ALTIER
Solemnity Of The Nativity Of Our Lord (YR A) (Midnight)
Readings: Isaiah 9:1-6
In the Gospel reading today, we hear the angel announce to the shepherds “good news of great joy” for all people. In a hidden way, in the middle of the night, our Lord chose to be born for us. The work God had undertaken to prepare the world for its redemption after Adam and Eve had sinned had now reached its fulfillment. Certainly, there were still 33 more years before the complete fulfillment of our salvation would be achieved in the death and Resurrection of our Lord, but none of that could happen unless He had assumed our human nature.
By choosing to be born of Mary, our Lord, who is all powerful, demonstrates to humanity just how frail our nature really is. Looking upon the fragility of a baby helps us to see our own weakness. Considering the dependence of a baby on his mother helps us to recognize our dependence on God. It is true that we have grown in size and strength, but our humanity is the same and our weaknesses and dependence do not cease just because we are more developed.
We may not be dependent on our mothers anymore, but our attempts at self-reliance should quickly and easily demonstrate our need to be dependent on God.
At the same time, the birth of our Lord brings clearly to light what is truly good and wonderful in our humanity. We first must recognize that our human nature is so good that God chose to unite our nature to Himself, and it was not an affront to God. We are made in God’s image and likeness which means we are made for love.
This is what we see in a baby. Babies are the most lovable little creatures. In part it is because they are so precious and so beautiful, but from the spiritual perspective, babies are so lovable because they are completely vulnerable.
Sometimes we do not allow ourselves to be loved because we are afraid to be hurt or rejected. We have built walls to keep ourselves from being vulnerable so that no one can get close enough to violate us. On the surface, this sounds like a good thing; however, it also means we do not allow anyone to get close enough to love us. I need to make a distinction: There are some people who love us, but we do not allow ourselves to be loved by them because we will not allow them to get close enough to love us in a deeper way. Babies do not have walls. Because babies are vulnerable, they can be hurt, but it also means they will allow themselves to be loved.
Jesus allowed the shepherds to come to Him; there was no rejection. The shepherds must have gone away from their encounter with the Lord as persons who were changed. Because Jesus had no walls to keep people out, there were also no walls to keep His love in. This means the shepherds would have been received into the Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord, and upon entering His Heart, they would have been flooded with His love. They would have experienced the peace Isaiah speaks of in the first reading.
If we are willing to allow ourselves to be drawn to the open Heart of the Infant Jesus, we too will know the love and the peace that can come only from Him. This means, however, that we must let our walls down.
Jesus will never hurt you nor reject you. Remember, He told us that He would not reject anyone who comes to Him. We can only enter His Heart to the degree that we are willing to open our hearts.
Entrance into His Heart will cleanse us, as St. Paul says in the second reading, and make us His own people who are eager to do what is good. This is the same kind of change that would have happened to the shepherds. We can open our hearts to our Lord in prayer as often as we wish. Since we are not physically at the manger as the shepherds were, we can come to the Infant Jesus as often as we desire.
Whether Jesus is the Baby lying in the manger, the Man teaching in the Temple, the Messiah thirsting on the Cross, or our God enthroned in glory, His disposition does not change because, as God, He cannot change. His Heart is always open to us! Come to Him, open your heart to Him, and allow Him to love you and to fill you with His peace, a peace the world cannot give. The good news of great joy for us is that, like the shepherds, we will be changed, and our lives will proclaim “Glory to God in the Highest!”
You must be logged in to post a comment.