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Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord 2022

We come on this night to marvel anew at Jesus, who became man more than two thousand years ago. We come for hope in post-pandemic, in times of war, in times that are not easy to live in. It is good that Jesus became a man for all. We need Him very much.

“The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone”.     These are words of prophecy addressed to the Israelites at a moment of great crisis. It is also the announcement of the coming of the Messiah, who can change the destiny of  a  person, a nation. Messiah to bring renewal. Maybe you have an experience of darkness – an irresolvable situation, sin, difficult relationships.                                 Sometimes we don’t understand others, at home, at work . Sometimes there is also a lack of unity and peace, depression, lack of financial resources.

Some might be ill, or perhaps caring for someone who is ill and we no longer have the strength and there is nowhere to receive help. It varies. This Isaiah word encourages us to look towards God. Yes, He can illuminate my darkness and yours. He can give hope  a solution.  ,                      We come here to hear the Gospel, to see with eyes of faith this grotto hollowed out of the rock – because there was no room for them in the inn. To see the infant Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the animals and the shepherds despised by others – on the periphery of the world at that time – as Pope Francis said.

Amazingly, God is born right there. In the cold, in the rejection. We come because in this Child we see hope.  Maybe you’re  in church, or maybe just somewhere on  the periphery.                      This is good news for all of us.    He became man out of love for us, for everyone – without exception. We have given so many signs that Jesus is not important to us, but He keeps opening His hands to us.

Wherever you are, He is looking for you. He comes in the Eucharist, in his word, in the sacraments, but also in another human being in need of our attention. And also in many other ways. Let us just want to invite Him into the stable or palace of our heart.                                        There is a record in the Gospel that we may not remember. Caesar Augustus issued an order to take a census. It was a God-striking event for the Jews. They had it encoded in their religious tradition that censuses should not be arranged, because the Lord and owner of everything is God. This word reminds us that we belong to God, that we are in the hands of a loving God.                 Paul writes in his letter to Titus, a convert to Christianity while in prison, about the fact that since we have accepted Christ, this should be evident in the way we live. The champion here was Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who wrote: “Whenever you smile at your brother and reach out to him, it’s Christmas. Every time you fall silent to listen, it’s Christmas. (…) Whenever you allow God to love others through you, always then, it is Christmas.”                                      While we are here marvelling at the events of Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, let us strive to live in such a way that God is ‘born’ through us in our homes, in our schools, at work, in the office. Wherever He sends us.