HOW MIGHT JESUS’ ARRIVAL BE GREETED TODAY?
Posted: January 1, 2017 in Pastor's Page
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I’ll never forget la bataille royale we had a few years back over Loyola students feeding the homeless at Lafayette Square in the old Warehouse District. At that time, I was Dean of Campus Ministry. That warehouse district neighborhood had rapidly gentrified over the past decade, and many of the new residents had decided that the Ozanam Inn (which has been there since 1947) must be moved to “improve” the neighborhood. Since Loyola students were also feeding the homeless in their area, we, along with the Ozanam Inn, were bringing down their property value by attracting unwanted, lower class people. One of the new residents of the gentrification process got very ugly with us and went so far as to compare the homeless men and women with pigeons, suggesting, “as long as we feed the pigeons, they will keep coming back.” This was over a decade ago, and I still get upset thinking about it.
A poor carpenter from Nazareth arrived in his native Bethlehem with his young, pregnant wife seated on a beast of burden. It was late at night, and Mary’s contractions had already begun. Desperately they went from one house to another, but were repeatedly turned away with the excuse “there’s no room for you here.” Finally we know that someone offered them the use of his stable, and it was there that the “Son of God”, the “Savior of Humanity”, the “Prince of Peace” was born into our world. That was the best the world (we) had to offer Him that night!
We all know, of course, that if Mary and Joseph came calling in fine clothes and with royal appearance, someone in Bethlehem would have MADE room for them! Unfortunately, most people weren’t paying attention on that cold winter night!
Fortunately for us, we continue to have an opportunity to welcome God into our lives and to un-do the sins of inhospitality committed that night. . Each time we show kindness to a poor, needy person or offer hospitality to a homeless person, we are reversing the “no vacancy” responses of those Bethlehem innkeepers, and offering love and “vacancy” to God in our world. Jesus told us as much when he said, “whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, and you do for me.”
Let us pray for the grace to see all men and women for who they are: sons and daughters of God. Merry Christmas from the staff at Holy Name! May God pour abundant blessings over you and your loved ones throughout this holiday season.
In the Risen Lord,
Fr. Eddie Gros, Pastor