01/02/2022, 13.15
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Pope: Do not keep God at a distance, allow Him to enter our 'stables' too

Make room for the God who "does not remain in His blissful eternity and in His infinite light, but makes himself close, becomes flesh, descends into the darkness, inhabits lands alien to him". "Let each one of us be concrete and respond to this. 'Yes, yes, I would like Jesus to come but like this, that I do not have to touch him;  this, no, and this yes...'. Everyone has his own sin - let us call it by name. And He is not afraid of our sins: He came to heal us. At least let us let Him see it, let Him see the sin".



Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Let us not keep God at a distance, let us allow Him to enter even those "places" of ours where "we do not want to put God in the way". Making room for that God who "does not remain in His blessed eternity and in His infinite light, but makes Himself close, becomes flesh, descends into the darkness, inhabits lands that are foreign to Him" was the topic of Pope Francis' Angelus reflection today.

Speaking to the 20,000 people present in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis took his cue from the "beautiful phrase" of today's liturgy, a phrase "which we always pray at the Angelus and which alone reveals to us the meaning of Christmas: 'The Word became flesh and came to dwell among us'" (Jn 1:14)". These are words that "bring two opposite realities together: the Word and the flesh. Word' indicates that Jesus is the eternal Word of the Father, infinite, existing from all time, before all created things; 'flesh', on the other hand, indicates precisely our created reality, fragile, limited, mortal. Before Jesus, they were two separate worlds: Heaven opposed to earth, the infinite opposed to the finite, spirit opposed to matter".

In the Prologue of John's Gospel there is "another binomial: light and darkness (cf. v. 5). Jesus is the light of God who has entered into the darkness of the world. God is light: in him there is no opacity; in us, on the other hand, there is much darkness. Now, with Jesus, light and darkness meet: holiness and guilt, grace and sin". The Incarnation is precisely "the encounter between grace and sin". "What does the Gospel want to announce with these polarities? A splendid thing: God's way of acting. Faced with our frailty, the Lord does not back down. He does not remain in his blessed eternity and in his infinite light, but he comes close, he becomes flesh, he descends into the darkness, he inhabits lands that are foreign to him. He does this because he does not resign himself to the fact that we can go astray by going far from him, far from eternity, far from the light. This is God's work: to come among us. If we consider ourselves unworthy, that does not stop him. If we reject him, he does not tire of seeking us out. If we are not ready and willing to receive him, he prefers to come anyway, and if we close the door in his face, he waits. He is the Good Shepherd. And the most beautiful image of the Good Shepherd? The Word who becomes flesh to share our lives. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who comes to look for us where we are: in our problems, in our misery... He comes there".

Often," the Pope said, "we keep our distance from God because we think we are not worthy of Him for other reasons. And this is true. But Christmas invites us to see things from his point of view. God wishes to become incarnate. If your heart seems too polluted by evil, too disordered, don't close yourself off, don't be afraid. He is coming. Think of the stable in Bethlehem. Jesus was born there, in that poverty, to tell you that he is not afraid to visit your heart, to live a shabby life. This is the word: to dwell. It is the verb used today in the Gospel: it expresses a total sharing, a great intimacy. This is what God wants: to dwell with us, to dwell in us. And do we want to make room for him? In words, yes, but concretely? Perhaps there are aspects of life that we keep to ourselves, exclusive, or inner places where we are afraid that the Gospel will enter, where we do not want to put God in the middle. Today," he added, "I invite you to be concrete. What are the interior things that I believe God does not like? What is the space that I think is only for me and I do not want God to come? Let each of us be concrete and answer this. Yes, yes, I would like Jesus to come, but I don't want him to touch me; and this, no, and this...'. Everyone has his own sin - let us call it by name. And He is not afraid of our sins: He came to heal us. At least let us show Him, let Him see the sin. Let us be brave, let us say: 'But, Lord, I am in this situation but I don't want to change. But you, please, don't go too far away'. That's a good prayer. Let's be sincere today."

"What are the inner things that I think God does not like. What are the places, the sins, that we don't want him to touch. "

"In this Christmas season it would do us good for us to welcome the Lord right there. How? For example by stopping in front of the crib, because it shows Jesus coming to inhabit all our concrete, ordinary life, where not everything is going well, where there are many problems: the shepherds who work hard, Herod who threatens the innocent, great poverty... But in the midst of all this, even our problems, there is God, who wants to live with us. And he is waiting for us to present him our situations, what we are living. So, in front of the crib, let us talk to Jesus about our concrete situations. Let us officially invite him into our lives, especially into the dark areas: 'Look, Lord, there is no light there, the electricity doesn't reach, but please don't touch, because I don't feel like leaving this situation'. Let us speak clearly, concretely, in the dark zones, our 'inner stables': each of us has them. And let us also fearlessly tell him about the social problems, and the ecclesial problems of our time, even the personal problems, even the ugliest ones: because God loves to dwell: among us".

After the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis renewed his "wishes for peace and good in the Lord" and reiterated "in happy moments and in sad ones let us entrust ourselves to Him who is our strength and our hope". "We invite the Lord to come within us, to come to our reality, ugly as it may be, like a stable... But, well, Lord, I would not like you to enter, and to see it,  to be near."

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