CHRISTMAS 2022 •
The star of Bethlehem above the earth. Not generally somewhere in the universe. Above this earth, this “blue marble”. Above the earth of the people of his love, each one of them, of us. Person of his love, each one concretely, with name and surname. God became flesh, on this earth, among us, very concretely. So that we love him very concretely, with deeds, and so that we proclaim him very concretely, with real, concrete stories. —
“We now come to our last point: the manger speaks to us of concreteness. Indeed, a child lying in a manger presents us with a scene that is striking, even crude. It reminds us that God truly became flesh. As a result, all our theories, our fine thoughts and our pious sentiments are no longer enough. Jesus was born poor, lived poor and died poor; he did not so much talk about poverty as live it, to the very end, for our sake. From the manger to the cross, his love for us was always palpable, concrete. From birth to death, the carpenter’s son embraced the roughness of the wood, the harshness of our existence. He did not love us only in words; he loved us with utter seriousness!
Consequently, Jesus is not satisfied with appearances. He who took on our flesh wants more than simply good intentions. He who was born in the manger, demands a concrete faith, made up of adoration and charity, not empty words and superficiality. He who lay naked in the manger and hung naked on the cross, asks us for truth, he asks us to go to the bare reality of things, and to lay at the foot of the manger all our excuses, our justifications and our hypocrisies. Tenderly wrapped in swaddling clothes by Mary, he wants us to be clothed in love. God does not want appearances but concreteness. Brothers and sisters, may we not let this Christmas pass without doing something good. Since it is his celebration, his birthday, let us give him the gifts he finds pleasing! At Christmas, God is concrete: in his name let us help a little hope to be born anew in those who feel hopeless!
Jesus we behold you lying in the manger. We see you as close, ever at our side: thank you Lord! We see you as poor, in order to teach us that true wealth does not reside in things but in persons, and above all in the poor: forgive us, if we have failed to acknowledge and serve you in them. We see you as concrete, because your love for us is palpable. Jesus, help us to give flesh and life to our faith. Amen.”
Pope Francis, Holy Night 2022