“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

No room in the inn

Fr. Cyrain Cabueñas

By Cyrain Cabueñas

‘TIS THE SEASON to be jolly despite the crass commercialism and obligatory shopping. Nobody wants to be a Grinch, but we all know that we are very much more consumers than citizens of the kingdom. There are still vestiges of religious elements like the Parols and Nativity sets in our homes and Aguinaldo Masses in our parish church that fittingly remind us that we are celebrating something. Hopefully, we remember why. Hopefully, we don’t forget the reason for the season. Some first world countries have forgotten and still willingly forget the real reason of this special season. For them it is not a time to welcome the birth of a Savior but designed to run up credit cards and shop till you drop.

Christmas is not just a day or a season. It is a lifetime of growth in holiness by generous giving of oneself. This is the meaning of Christ’s nativity. The Son of God came to dwell among us, to open for us the doors of eternal life, to establish the community of faith, the church, of which He is the cornerstone. To awaken in us a renewed appreciation of His presence in our lives, if we only open our hearts to Him.

But then again, how do we let Christ enter our lives and hearts when we are so full of ourselves. “He came to His own home and His own people received Him not” (Jn 1:11). Time and again at Luke’s Infancy narrative the inn keeper’s voice poignantly echoes “no room in the inn” for our world tries to take Christ out of Christmas. We don’t have room for His way of doing things for they don’t fit in with our lifestyle of excess. Stay in a stable with smelly animals? Seriously? He could have made better arrangements. Perhaps a presidential suite.

We don’t want Him on the throne of our homes because we want to sit there ourselves. We don’t want Him running our lives for He is a thorn-in-the-flesh. Despite being the most authoritative religious leader that set foot in this planet, he was a persona non grata for the religious leaders for He pricks their conscience. He is also bad for business. He was instrumental in drowning a herd of swine in Mark 5:17. As expected, the people of Gadara pleaded with Him to depart their region. There was no room for Him as well in the heart of the young ruler in Mark 10 for He was a competition in the young man’s lust for wealth.

Thus getting in the holiday spirit may be a challenge for some of us with insatiable thirst for recognition and status-obsessed people. We may not be reincarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge but we are no paragons of virtue either. We go on with our self-indulgent lifestyle and occasionally throw a few crumbs from our tables to quite down the grumblings. Some of us will surely feast on plank loads of food and wade in gravy come noche buena, while many of our brethren will boil stones for soup.

As one adage goes: civility is the art of living with others, it is also what we so terribly lack in this country. No matter what we do in life, how we climb the ladder of success, we will ultimately be remembered for how we helped others less fortunate than ourselves.

We make room for a lot of things that reveal our values and priorities, or lack of it. How can we avoid repeating the inn keeper’s mistake?

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