Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Nativity Midnight

Luke 2:1-14

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Ginny Scally

Published: December 24, 2016

Fifty years ago this Christmas Eve, in the context of a Midnight Prayer Service, the following reading was proclaimed by a Sister-friend and it saved my life! It is taken from Karl Rahner, SJ’s The Eternal Year. I offer it today, fifty years later, to all of you, as the best “glimpse” I have to offer, into the truest meaning of Christmas…

“And now he says to us what he has already said to the world as a whole, through his grace-filled birth: ‘I am there. I am with you. I am your life. I am your time. I am the gloom of your daily routine. Why will you not bear it? I weep your tears; pour out yours to me, my child. I am your joy. Do not be afraid to be happy, for ever since I wept, joy is the standard of living that is really more suitable than the anxiety and grief of those who think they have no hope. I am the blind alleys of your paths, for when you no longer know how to go any further, then you have reached me, foolish child, though you are not aware of it. I am in your anxiety for I have shared it by suffering it. And in so doing, I wasn’t even heroic according to the wisdom of the world. I am in the prison of your finiteness, for my love has made me your prisoner. When the totals of your plans and of your life’s experiences do not balance out evenly, I am the unsolved remainder, which makes you so frantic. It is in reality my love that you do not yet understand. I am present in your needs. I have suffered them and they are now transformed, but not obliterated from my heart. I am in your lowest fall, for today I began to descend into hell. I am in your death, for today I began to die with you, because I was born, and I have not let myself be spared any part of this death.

Do not be sorry, as Job was, for those who are born; for all who accept my salvation are born in this holy night because my Christmas embraces all your days and all your nights. I myself, my whole being and my whole personality, are truly engaged in the terrifying adventure that begins with your birth. I tell you, mine was no easier and no less dangerous than yours. I assure you though it had a happy ending. Ever since I became your brother, you are as near to me as I am to myself. If therefore I, as a creature, want to prove in me and in you, my brothers and sisters, that I, as Creator, have not made a hopeless experiment with the human race, who then shall tear my hand away from you? I accepted you when I took my human life to myself. As one of your kind, as a fresh start, I conquered in my failure.

If you judge the future only according to yourselves, you cannot be pessimistic enough. But do not forget that your real future is my present, the present that began today and shall never again become transitoriness. And so you are certainly planning in a realistic way, if you rely on my optimism, which is not Utopia but the reality of God. This reality – incomprehensible wonder of my almighty love - I have sheltered, safely and completely, in the cold stable of your world. I am there. I no longer go away from this world, even if you do not see me now. When you, poor mortals, celebrate Christmas, then say to everything that you are one thing only - say to me, ’You are here. You have come. You have come into everything. Even into my soul. Even behind the stubbornness of my wickedness, which does not want to let itself be pardoned.’ Say only one thing, and then it is Christmas for you too; say only: ‘You are here.’ No don’t say anything. I am there. And ever since then, my love is unconquerable. I am there. It is Christmas. Light the candles! They have more right to exist than all the darkness. It is Christmas! Christmas that lasts forever!”

How GOOD is our good God! Merry Christmas to all with love

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