16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Reflection, By Fr Aldo, sx
After having received the message from heaven, the shepherds went to Bethlehem where they found Joseph, Mary and the baby-Jesus lying on a manger. Note, they did not see anything extraordinary. All they saw was a father, a mother and a baby-boy. Yet they are able to recognize in him the savior.
On the other hand, for us to keep on nourishing our faith we badly desire for extraordinary signs, we want to see miracles and “apparitions” and experience God’s great deeds. But the truth is that true faith does not need such weak basis.
In fact once Jesus was very tough with those who demanded signs and called such people “an evil generation” (Lk 11:29). A disciple is the one who before the message of God that resounds through the Gospel, feels invited, answers with a “yes” and does not expect any other sign apart from the Word, for he or she recognizes in it the voice of the Father calling for salvation.
Having arrived in front of the Holy Child, what did the shepherds do? You may answer: “they prostrated themselves and worshiped him.” That is indeed the way painters have always romantically portrayed the scene. The Gospel, however does not say that. It says that on a first moment they are taken by wonder and then get busy in making this know to all; and all those who listened to them were taken by wonder too.
Indeed, in the early chapters of Luke, there is an emphasis on the wonder and the uncontrollable joy of those who felt involved by God’s plans. Elizabeth when she finds herself pregnant she shouts: “Look at what the Lord has done for me!” Simeon and Ana began praising God for the salvation prepared for all peoples; and so were Joseph and Mary astounded.
Most of us have lost the children’s attitude of being amazed at all that they see their father doing; or the simple shepherds attitude of being amazed by seeing something yet so ordinary. This sense of amazement and wonder is missing most of the time. With all the tricks, magic and miracles of technology all over we tend to become desensitized and the simplicity of God seems not enough to turn us on.
Mary kept all these things meditating in her heart. What does this mean? Probably it points to the fact that Mary knew how to identify all the events with the project of God. While we easily lose sight of the whole due to so many disturbing details, Mary placed every single happening within the whole. In this sense everything fitted in the greater plan.
Apart from providing nourishment, Mary was Jesus’ first educator; she taught him how to be a man of peace; she conceived the “Prince of Peace.” May Jesus be with you through the year; as you contemplate God’s work in the ordinary events of life, may peace be in your home! Happy new year to all!!!