Reflections of Christmas Eve by Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Sergio Falvino (Buenos Aires)


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Many times we have listened to our Archbishop, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in his homilies of the Metropolitan Cathedral, analyze the text of Sacred Scripture and make a reflection based on them, in their historical context and in the present to be able to touch the heart of the faithful and invite them to missionary action in daily life.

Today, at this Christmas time, we are invited to contemplate the manger and, therefore, we want to choose some passages of his Christmas Eve homilies to be able to sketch with three strokes the most genuine picture of Bergoglian thought about the birth of the Child God.

The first brushstroke, taken from Christmas Eve 2005, the Archbishop proposed a counterpoint between the light of an “extraordinary event” destined to change the course of history and the darkness of a world without direction or meaning, tired of remembering and waiting in the promises of the prophets, accentuated by the darkness of the night in a stable in Bethlehem: “He was born at night, it was announced at night ‘to some shepherds who kept watch over their flocks’ (Lk 2, 8), – thus began – and he gathered himself with ‘the people who walked in the darkness’, with those who lived in the land of darkness’ (Isaiah 9: 1). And it was light, ‘a great light’ (Is. 9, 1) overturned on the dense darkness, light that envelops everything: ‘and the glory of the Lord enveloped them with his light’ (Lk 2, 9) “. Such is the importance of that Light that makes the angels of Heaven sing: “Glory to God” and that allows us to manifest the presence in the land of Emmanuel, God with us, presence that “destroys the weight of defeat, the sadness of slavery and plant joy. ”

In the second brushstroke, in his homily of Christmas Eve of the following year, the Cardinal Primate of Argentina highlighted “the simplicity of the scene”, which “introduces us to the always surprising novelty of God and his way of manifesting himself to the world”. We can never cease to be surprised by the fact that “God chooses the ‘periphery’ of the city of Bethlehem and the ‘existential periphery’ of the poor and marginalized people of that time to manifest themselves to the world.” In this way, he exhorts us to approach “with them, to the manger and, there, we can see Mary, the believing and working woman who had the courage to trust in God, […] next to her is Joseph, the man fair and good, who preferred to believe God before his doubts. ” Therefore, the Archbishop concludes: “Thus God reveals himself to us in love and in the abnegation of a simple believing couple, instead of the apparent splendor of those who trust in their own strength”.

In the third brushstroke, the Lord responds to those who asked for a sign, offering them the “great sign” that could not go unnoticed or appear simply as a merely astronomical event, but that “great sign” consisted in that night God he fell in love with our littleness and became tenderness, tenderness for all frailty, suffering, for all anguish, for every search, for every limit; the sign is the tenderness of God. ” The ‘great sign’ and its essential message personified in a Child in diapers: it was, therefore, “God made tenderness, God caressing our misery, God in love with our littleness” (Christmas Eve 2004).

In this way, and continuing his reflection, Bergolio concludes: “Therefore, this is the sign, the password, the signal: this newborn child lying in a manger that summons everyone who is marginalized.” And who can say that it is not? Then, the Cardinal exhorts us: “Open your heart, He calls us to meekness, to peace, to solidarity, to harmony; that’s why this night is a night of harmony, peace and love “.

And he realizes, successively, a practical proposal: “Next to the manger, let’s do two things: first, let us sit down invited by the beauty of humility, of meekness, of simplicity; Secondly, let us look in our hearts at what point we are on the out side, at what point we are marginalized and let Jesus call us from that lack, from that limit, from that selfishness. Let us caress for God, and we will understand more what is simplicity, meekness and unity “(Christmas Eve 2012).