It is good that our parish can gather on these holy days because God has summoned us here to worship Him on the Mountain. We gather with family and friends, even with total strangers at our side, we come to the manger, and seek out what has become lost in our lives. We wonder n the solitude of this moment what happened to the manger of our hearts. How easy it is for me to ignore the humanness of those around me, especially the stranger or those who are in anyway poor. It seems that humanity has been entombed with anger, busyness and boredom. These things are not in the manger and they have no place here, because they are not a part of what makes us human.
But in the silence of this night, we are being given a gift, an unmistakable sound of knocking, we have heard this a knocking before in quiet times when we are alone. Deep down inside ourselves we know who knocks at our heart; who is eager to be a part of our humanness, of everyone’s humanity.
It is the Child Who desires to become a part of our history. He wants to enter even that which makes us poor and weak in the eyes of the world. You know, many times Jesus passes by in our lives, He sends an angel but we are caught up in worldly things and don’t notice Him. We don’t even hear the cry of an angry child, an impoverished mother, a grieving wife, or a suffering spouse.
We do hear Jingle Bells; Granny Got Run Over by a Reindeer. We hear there are sales at the Mall. We hear the anxieties of the Season. But you know what? If you listen carefully when God knocks, you can open the door of your heart, that which makes you human and you can better understand how much God wants to be a part of your life and how Jesus really wants to walk with you along the way.
Yes! Jesus does pass by our way even tonight because the mystery of Jesus’ birth, which took place two thousand years ago, occurs today as a spiritual event of this Divine Liturgy. The Word that finds a home with Mary and Joseph wants to find a home in your heart.
Sometimes, we can hesitate because we may not recognize Him or He might not recognize us. If only I could be a better person, a better Christian even. But you see, even in that feeling of making hesitancy, that’s the knock, Jesus is there. If you feel this, stop! It is the Lord knocking on the door of your heart.
What should I do when I feel this way? Pray, and then go to confession. Spring clean before your Guest arrives. This is a good thing. Do not let him pass by; catch him in the mystery of this Christmas. Receive him with total openness and do not be afraid to let Him in.
The gift He brings you is peace, our true and only peace, the peace of the soul. Open your doors to Christ don’t leave Him out in the cold. Let him find a home there in your heart, so His light may radiate to others who hear Him knocking at the door.
You, my friends are here now, because you heard and have obeyed. You have completed the first step. The other steps are not only easier they are possible. Walk in the procession of the saints and receive the Body of Christ worthily. His gift to you is His Own Life for you.
Saint Augustine wrote a beautiful prayer for this night, I would like to pray with you now: just close your eyes and listen:
“Look on me, Jesus, and let all the darkness of my soul disappear before Your Brightness. Fill me with Your Holy Love, and open to me the treasures of Your Wisdom. You know my true desire, so bring to perfection what You have started, and what the Holy Spirit has awakened me to ask in prayer. I seek Your Face, turn Your Face to me and show me Your Glory. Then my longing will be satisfied and my peace will be perfect. Amen.”