Christmas as a starting point to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy
Foretelling our Savior’s birth, John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, prophesied that “In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79) These beautiful words recorded by Luke in his Gospel, known as the Gospel of Mercy, are a good starting point to celebrate the great Jubilee of Mercy declared by Pope Francis.
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the Son of God who incarnates to become one of us, to become God with us. Zechariah calls him “the dawn from on high,” borrowing from Isaiah the notions of the light for the nations (Isaiah 42:6) and of the great light that shone upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom. (9:1-2)
The words of the prophet become real on Christmas, when the Savior is born “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (42:7)
From which blindness will Baby Jesus heal us this Christmas? The blindness that impairs us from looking at others as our brothers and sisters, children of the same Father? The blindness that impairs us from seeing that our parents’ authority was given to them by God? The blindness that impairs us from noticing the tenderness of our children, who were entrusted to us so God can bless them through us? The blindness that impairs us to witness the real presence of Christ in a loving union that became a sacrament at the altar?
Let us ask our Heavenly Father that Baby Jesus is born this Christmas to open our eyes from the social blindness that impairs us to see that a spade is a spade, that good is beautiful, and that evil is a sin — the social blindness that has made us used to sin, to the point of tolerating, defending and endorsing it!
Let us pray the Lord that this Year of Mercy, the dawn from on high brings us out from the dungeon of darkness, of sadness, of fear, and of distrust. That he breaks the chains of bitterness, of resentment, and of the inability to forgive — feelings that oppress and hurt us. How many people are slaves of the recollections of trespasses suffered years ago, even from people who have already died? How many people live as prisoners of resentment toward people who, to tell the truth, never wished them evil? How many people live in isolation, in the prison of their own silence, choosing to stop talking to their relatives for years due to misunderstandings that can be easily cleared up?
Zechariah explains that the dawn from high shall break upon us, because of the tender compassion of our God. In sacred Scripture, compassion or mercy is equivalent to the deepest love a mother has for her child who dwells in her womb. God is a Father who loves his children with a motherly love. For indeed, there is no deeper love than the love of a mom for the baby in her bosom. It is with this tender love that God our Father makes the dawn from high to break upon us, so that through a tender baby, he can sow in our hearts the seed of mercy.
Be passionate about our faith!
This is the English translation of the “Semillas de la Palabra” column "¿De qué ceguera ha de librarnos el Sol que nace de lo alto?" that appeared in the December 2015 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.