Jesus born in the midst of the night... It was night in more than one sense... It was at night without the light of the sun, it was night for us sinners far from the clarity of grace, night of egotists and selfishness of life that make of us prisoners of horrible prisons... Night of fear to the Roman Empire... The powers of he world that think they could or can replace God at the price of human blood...
Jesus comes in the middle of the night. The voices of the Angels break the silence of the night and the shepherds are overwhelmed by a new joy that wasn't expected and that they couldn't understand.
The glory of heaven is visiting earth, a world darkened by evil, sin, and ignorance. It seems that made sense for God to shower with His Angelical splendor the dirt of so many injustices, lies and impurities...
The Incarnation is not a gift for the good behavior of the world or our good deeds… It is a free act of love
Jesus wants to born in the middle of our night and wants to do it again tonight in your life and mine.
What is night in me? What is night in my family? In my country? In my generation? How am I going to let the grace start its work in me? Where and how? Do I really need a Savior?
The love of Mary, the diligence of Joseph, the splendor of the star, the edifying adoration of the shepherds, the selfless pilgrimage of the Magi: God always bring signs as gifts that give comfort during the dark and cold night... Brothers and sisters, God is more than capable to defeat any night and to transform sinners into saints.
Let's make a resolution even before the 31st: let's stop criticizing the night... We are not fixing it, we are not bringing light, we are not helping. Look a the signs of the light in your life, in your family, in your parish... Bless God for those signs; thank God for His sign a d with Him let's all defeat the Night!
Let us welcome him as our gift of salvation and after this lets see each one of us members of this Family as gifts to others.
We are each called to become gift – to share in the salvific mission of Christ – as crazy as that sounds! We are each called to cooperate with Christ, even today, in the great gift of salvation that He gives to the world. We live Christmas more and more perfectly as our lives become this gift. Isn’t this what Mary teaches us? From the moment she held the newborn baby Jesus in her arms, she shared in His mission – she became a gift. Even before that. Didn’t she say at the Annunciation, “I am the handmaid of the Lord” – I am gift?
Brothers and sisters of St Mark’s, can you imagine what a beautiful place our parish would be if we each understood this mission? Can you imagine the power of this gift that our Lord wants to give? A power that starts in that manger in Bethlehem and radiates out through the lives of men and women accepting and living the gift in their own lives, throughout the centuries… Can you imagine how the world would be changed if we each allowed ourselves to become a gift – to become part of this gift of salvation?
So maybe now we can begin to see the immensity of this simple gift that we receive, and that we can give through our lives. It is waiting for us in the simplicity and silence of the manger.
Lord, help me to believe, and increase my trust in this gift - the promise of salvation. Help me to see this promise as a Gift above all other gifts. Make my heart burn with this gift, and change in me all that dampens the flame. Lord, if I truly understood the immensity of the gift it would change the entire course of my life. It would make the fire of your love burn brightly in my life, in my family and in my parish. I want to be this gift to others. I offer myself this Christmas and I ask you to perfect your gift in me. Amen.