Home > E-maristes > Marist Bulletin > Number 173 (24.12.2004)

Wherever you go

Rule of Life of the Marist Brothers



Social networking

Marist Brothers

RSS YouTube FaceBook Twitter



Calls of the XXII General Chapter


Archive of updates


Marist Calendar

18 June

St. Elizabeth of Schoenau
1900: the first Brothers leave for Bom Principio, Brazil

Marist Calendar - June

Marist Bulletin - Number 173


Remarks about Christmas 2004

Download WORD

What a surprise that first Christmas must have been! Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah, Savior, and source of deliverance for the Jewish people, slipped into our world almost unnoticed. It never dawned on Mary and Joseph to call the press of their day; no committee of VIPs gather to greet him; there were no bands, nor fanfare such as a special commemorative stamp printed in his honor. His parents simply did what anyone on a journey does when faced with an event as momentous as the birth of a child: they made due with what was at hand. And so, some local shepherds, a few farm animals, and the darkness that is so much a part of night in any stable welcomed the Son of God into a troubled world.

And thus the story began to unfold. We know its details well. Jesus was reared in an occupied country; his parents were refugees for a time. As a boy he must have lived much the same life as other young people of his day. But there were moments in his journey that would have made anyone wonder. For example, all this strange talk of being about his Father’s business? Wasn’t his father Joseph, the carpenter? Stop for a moment, too, and recall his reaction to his mother’s request that he help their hosts during the wedding at Cana. His words were a bit sharp to say the least: “Woman, what is that to you or to me?”

Do all these details about the life of Jesus, though, really make any difference in your life or mine? Many of us insist that Jesus Christ is the center and passion of our life. But what does that actually mean and what evidence exists to support our contention.

Jesus, after all, never ceased to surprise his contemporaries; he continues to do the same to us today. He was, for example, a disappointment to the powers that be of his day. They expected a conquering King; a Suffering Servant came in his stead. As an itinerant preacher his very life challenged their ways of thinking and living.

Position was unimportant to him; laws that placed undue burdens on people and crushed their spirit had no place in his way of thinking. Though he was at home in the houses of the wealthy, his heart was with the poor. He came to change the hearts of us all, but spent his best efforts on behalf of sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors. But still, we are left with this question: what does “having a passion for Jesus Christ” actually mean, today in the everydayness of your life and mine?
The life of Mary gives us an answer. Have you ever wondered about her thoughts on the night Jesus was born? Luke tells us that Gabriel’s message nine months earlier had disturbed her; we might go so far as to say that it was unwelcome, even frightening news. After all, she was a young Jewish woman with plans to marry; she had a life ahead of her that did not include originally all that God appeared to have in mind.

Mary was willing, though, to turn her life around and to respond to God’s invitation with courage and uncertainty. “Let it be done unto me according to your word,” was the way she put it.

Are you and I willing to do the same today: change our hearts, change our plans, change our way of acting and living so as to give God a central place in our life? And not a God who is of our own making, but one whom we often do not understand and at times cannot find.

Marcellin’s reliance on the presence of God was his way of repeating Mary’s “yes” at the Annunciation. And continuing up until today, those of us who claim his charism as our own should never cease to pray for the grace of a change of heart so as to be like our founder, and to imitate Mary.

About a year ago, I received a letter from one of our novices. He was writing shortly after I had visited his novitiate. In his message I read the following words: “Seán, during your visit here last week, you asked a question that I could not answer readily. You asked what was most challenging personally to each of us during these novitiate years. I have given that question a lot of thought the past few days and I must say that the greatest challenge I face at the moment and the grace for which I pray is this one: To become free enough to fall in love with God.”

Let his pray be ours this Christmas season: To become free enough to fall in love with God. For in so doing, we may come to understand what it means to have a passion for Jesus Christ and his Good News.

A blessed and happy Christmas to all.


5574 visits