Page 5 - Michael Journal March 2020
P. 5

word” (Lk 1:38), show all of us how to abandon our-      The Magi teach us that  people can come to
        selves in faith to God’s will. By her “fiat”, Mary be-  Christ by a very long route. Men of wealth, sages
        came the mother of God’s Son, not losing but, thanks   from afar, athirst for the infinite, they set out on the
        to him, consecrating her virginity. In her, we see the   long and perilous journey that would lead them to
        Mother of God who does not keep her Son only to      Bethlehem  (cf. Mt 2:1-12).  Great joy comes over
        herself, but invites everyone to obey his word and to   them in the presence of the Infant King. They are not
        put it into practice (cf. Jn 2:5).                   scandalized by the poor surroundings, but immedi-
            At Mary’s side, shown protecting the Child and his   ately fall to their knees to worship him. Kneeling be-
        Mother, stands Saint Joseph. He is usually depicted   fore him, they understand that the God who with
        with staff in hand, or holding up a lamp. Saint Joseph   sovereign  wisdom  guides  the  course  of  the  stars
        plays an important role in the life of Jesus and Mary.   also guides the course of history, casting down the
        He is the guardian who tirelessly protects his family.   mighty and raising up the lowly. Upon their return
        When God warned him of Herod’s threat, he did not    home, they would certainly have told others of this
        hesitate to set out and flee to Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-15).   amazing encounter with the Messiah, thus initiating
        And once the danger had passed,  he brought  the     the spread of the Gospel among the nations.
        family back to Nazareth, where he was to be the first    Standing  before  the  Christmas  crèche,  we
        teacher of Jesus as a boy and then as a young man.   are reminded of the time when we were children,
        Joseph treasured in his heart the great mystery sur-                    eagerly  waiting  to  set  it  up.
        rounding Jesus and Mary his                                             These memories make us all the
        spouse; as a just man, he en-                                           more conscious of the precious
        trusted  himself  always  to  God’s                                     gift  received  from  those  who
        will, and put it into practice.                                         passed on the faith to us. At the
            When,  at  Christmas,  we                                           same time,  they  remind us of
        place the statue of the Infant                                          our duty to share this same ex-
        Jesus in the manger, the nativ-                                         perience with our children and
        ity scene suddenly comes alive.                                         our grandchildren.  It does not
        God appears as a child, for us                                          matter how the nativity scene is
        to take into our arms. Beneath                                          arranged: it can always be the
        weakness and frailty, he con-                                           same or it can change from year
        ceals his power that creates and                                        to year. What matters is that it
        transforms all things. It seems                                         speaks to our lives. Wherever it
        impossible, yet it is true: in                                          is, and whatever form it takes,
        Jesus, God was a child, and in                                          the Christmas crèche speaks to
        this way he wished to reveal the
        greatness of his love: by smiling                                       us of the love of God, the God
        and opening his arms to all.                                            who became a child in order to
                                                                                make us know how close he is
            “Life  was  made  manifest”                                         to every man, woman and child,
        (1  Jn  1:2).  In  these  words,  the                                   regardless of their condition.
        Apostle John sums up the mystery of the Incarnation.
        The crèche allows us to see and touch this unique        Dear brothers and sisters, the Christmas crèche
        and unparalleled event that changed the course of    is part of the precious yet demanding  process  of
        history,  so  that  time  would  thereafter  be  reckoned   passing on the faith. Beginning  in childhood, and
        either before or after the birth of Christ.          at every stage of our lives, it teaches us to contem-
            As the feast of Epiphany approaches, we place the   plate Jesus, to experience God’s love for us, to feel
        statues of the Three Kings in the Christmas crèche.   and believe that God is with us and that we are with
        Observing the star, those wise men from the East set   him, his children, brothers and sisters all, thanks to
        out for Bethlehem, in order to find Jesus and to offer   that Child who is the Son of God and the Son of the
        him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These   Virgin Mary. And to realize that in that knowledge
        costly gifts have an allegorical meaning: gold honours   we find true happiness. Like Saint Francis, may we
        Jesus’ kingship, incense his divinity, myrrh his sacred   open our hearts to this simple grace, so that from
        humanity that was to experience death and burial.    our  wonderment  a  humble  prayer  may  arise:  a
            As  we  contemplate  this  aspect  of  the  nativity   prayer of thanksgiving to God, who wished to share
                                                             with us his all, and thus never to leave us alone.
        scene, we are called to reflect on the responsibility
        of every Christian to spread the Gospel. Each of us      Given in Greccio, at the Shrine of the Nativity,
        is called to bear glad tidings to all, testifying by our   on December 1st, in the year 2019, the seventh of
        practical works of mercy to the joy of knowing Jesus   my Pontificate. v
        and his love.                                                                                                Pope Francis                                             MICHAEL  January/February 2020      7
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10