Theme: THERE WAS NO ROOM IN THE INN
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Friday December 24 2021
R1 – Is 9:1-6
R2 Ti 2:11-14
GODPEL – Luke 2:1-14
There was once a certain priest who rushed to the altar crib one Christmas morning, only to realize that some miscreants had stolen the Baby Jesus from the manger after the Midnight Mass. Later, during the morning Mass, the pastor informed the congregation of the theft and told them that he couldn’t understand the motive behind such a callous act. Then, he asked them to see that the Baby Jesus was returned. The manger, however, remained empty.
Later that afternoon, depressed and sad, the pastor was walking through the wintry streets when he saw his neighbor, little Tony. Shabbily dressed against the cold, Tony was proudly walking with a new, bright red wagon. The pastor knew how much his parents must have scrimped and saved to buy him the wagon. With a surge of Christmas spirit, the pastor wished Tony a Merry Christmas and congratulated him on his beautiful Christmas gift. It was then that he noticed that Tony’s new red wagon wasn’t empty. The Baby Jesus stolen from the church lay on a pillow in the wagon. The pastor was disappointed. He told Tony that stealing was wrong, and that the entire parish had been hurt by his action. Wiping from his cheeks the flowing penitential tears, Tony said, “But, Father, I didn’t steal Jesus! It wasn’t like that at all. I have been asking Jesus for a red wagon for Christmas for a long time, and, you see, I promised Him when I got it, He’d be the first one I took out for a ride. I kept my promise and now I am on my way to the church to bring Baby Jesus home!”
Beloved in Christ, each Christmas invites us to take Jesus to our homes, because the only inn where He cares to find shelter is the inn of our hearts. It was indeed at the appointed time when the scrolls of history are complete, down to the last word of time, the saddest line of all will be: “There was no room in the inn.”…
In the Gospel reading, we see how the whole world that awaited the coming Messiah, could not prepare an inn for him at his arrival. What a disappointment! Imagine the King of kings being born in a stable (manger), the least expected birthplace for the saviour.
Prophet Isaiah, in the first reading, magnified the profundity of the Messiah’s social cum salvific status by designating him as a Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.’
So, the thrust of the readings of this evening’s liturgical celebration is an invitation for us to imitate the little boy in the introit story in welcoming Jesus home and giving him a suitable place in our hearts, the dwelling abode of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19).
Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen spoke of the inn as follows: “The inn was the gathering place of public opinion, the focal point of the world’s moods, the rendezvous of the worldly, the rallying place of the popular and the successful. But there’s no room in the place where the world gathers. The stable is a place for outcasts, the ignored and the forgotten. The world might have expected the Son of God to be born in an inn; a stable would certainly be the last place in the world where one would look for him. The lesson is: divinity is always where you least expect to find it. So the Son of God made man is invited to enter into his own world through a back door.”
*WHY WAS THERE NO ROOM IN THE INN?
There could be alot of natural reasons why there was no room in the inn for the long awaited Messiah. For example:
(i) Undoubtedly, Bethlehem’s inn was full because of the census. The little town’s population had swelled many times its normal population.
(ii) Perhaps a garrison of soldiers took up all the available rooms.
(iii) Often we think how terrible the heartlessness of the unnamed and unmentioned innkeeper.
(iv) The innkeeper in Bethlehem may not be acting out of malice when he told Joseph and Mary there was no room. He was simply a businessman making business decisions.
However, the truth of the matter is that, all these galores of reasons supply no adequate explanations on why the world could not prepare room for the coming Messiah. Perhaps:
(i) The residents of Bethlehem and Israel were not scripturally oriented as to interpret and look forward to the promise of Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
(ii) The people had an ignorant indifference toward the events of that night in their mind, there was no reason to believe anything special about this couple let alone that Jesus was the Messiah.
(iii) The people were carnal minded. That is, they were merely concerned with the every day cares of this life.
In our own time, we could fall into such ignorance and indifference of not preparing a suitable inn for the Messiah in our lives. In order to prepare a suitable room for the Lord, we ought to consider the Fulton Sheen’s classification of Christ’s birth places.
*THE TWO BIRTHS OF CHRIST*
There are two births of Christ, one unto the world in Bethlehem; the other in the soul, when it is spiritually reborn. Men think of the former much more than the later, and celebrate it every year; but the spiritual Bethlehem is equally momentous…. It was the second birth that Saint Paul insisted on when he wrote from prison to his beloved people, the Ephesians, asking that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith and that they be rooted and grounded in love. This is the second Bethlehem, or the personal relationship of the individual heart to the Lord Christ.
(1) *PREPARE HIM ROOM*
The lyrics of the Christmas Carol hymn, “Joy to the world” composed by Isaac Watt reads: “Joy to the world, the Lord hss come! Let earth receive her King! Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room… Christmas asks us a tough question. Do we close the doors of our hearts to Jesus looking for a place to be reborn in our lives?
We can realize this by reverencing each human person, not neglecting the old, not being contemptuous of the poor or having positive thoughts for the unemployed and the lonely, and not ignoring those individuals with whom Christ has so closely identified Himself. Hence, we all need to examine ourselves daily on the doors we close to Jesus.
(2) *GOD IS STILL WITH US*
An undeserving Good News of Christmas for us Christians is that God is still with us…E-M-M-A-N-U-E-L.
Christmas is a promise kept. So, the real meaning of Christmas actually is Emmanuel, God-with-us – God coming down to us; God seeking us out; God coming alongside us; God revealing Himself to us; God bringing us forgiveness, healing, comfort, moral strength, and guidance — God dwelling within us. In every circumstance of life, even when we are frightened or lonely or in sorrow, God is with us. So, let’s go home to the heart of Christmas and embrace Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Finally, Cally, a nine year old boy was given the role of the innkeeper in their parish annual Christmas play. The director reasoned that Cally’s size would lend extra force to the innkeeper’s refusal of lodging to Joseph. During rehearsals, Cally was instructed to be firm and mean with Joseph. When the play opened, no one was more caught up in the action than Cally. And when Joseph knocked on the door of the inn, Cally was ready. He flung the door open and asked menacingly, “What do you want?” “We seek lodging,” Joseph replied. “Seek it elsewhere,” Cally said in a firm voice. “There’s no room in the inn.” “Please, good innkeeper,” Joseph pleaded, “this is my wife, Mary. She is with child and is very tired. She needs a place to rest.” There was a long pause as Cally looked down at Mary. The prompter whispered Cally’s next line: “No! Be gone!” Cally remained silent. Then the forlorn couple turned and began to slowly move away. Seeing this, Cally’s brow creased with concern. Tears welled up in his eyes. Suddenly, he called out, “Don’t go! You can have my room.”
MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE US TOWARDS PREPARING AN INN FOR THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH IN OUR HEARTS, BY TOUCHING LIVES AND REACHING OUT TO THE NEEDY. AMEN.
_FR GERALD MUOKA!_