December 25,

The Nativity of the Lord

Christmas among homeless people

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God.  He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people  did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name …. And the Word became flesh  and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth …. From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace … No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, 12 who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him. Jn 1,1-18

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a stable, among the poor people, he who belonged to the good family of a craftsman. It is God who wished it so and, to cause it to take place, he quietly suggested to the emperor Augustus to hold the first census in the history. All the subjects of the Roman Empire set themselves in motion to go to be registered at the place of origin. Even Mary and Joseph, who lived at Nazareth in Galilee, had to go to Judea, where the family of Joseph, who was a descendant of David, originated. In that movement of people, the hotel owners preferred to give hospitality to less demanding people than a woman who was about to give birth; so Mary and Joseph did not find room in the hotel and Jesus was born among the poor people. It is really God to drive the events of the history: the men are only tools! This story makes us to think that the migrations and the globalization of our time, with all the interlacing of cultures, religions, races and languages which are implied, are his work. The fact also that Jesus was born among the poor people means that God has a fondness for them. And the shepherds, the first to hasten to the stable in Bethlehem, were the poorest and most marginalized people of the Palestine at the time of Jesus. We, too, in the eighties, were privileged to relive, in some ways, the nativity in the roles of Mary, Joseph and the baby. It had to be a living crib, but for us it was a lot more. Brother Hector, who recently started his adventurous mission to give care and dignity to the homeless in Milan, asked us to play as the Holy Family, along with Gianluca, who was born a few days before, in the holy Christmas mass for the homeless people. We accepted and it was an unforgettable experience. We were to revive the Christmas of the Holy Family, in that little dark context, with the faces of the homeless people who looked stunned, being not so much different from the shepherds of the crib. It was a real immersion in the mystery of the Christmas.

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