At 7:00am this morning, I walked a pilgrimage with people who are striving to bring justice to the undocumented. It was a traditional “Posada,” a word which means, “shelter,” and has roots in Mexican catholic culture. Every year before Christmas, a Mary pregnant with jesus walks with Joseph from house to house only to be rejected with the statement , “There is no room
In the Inn.” The couple finally finds a welcome home that “shelters ” them, allowing their Child to born.
A young woman and man dressed as Mary and Joseph led the pilgrimage to various locations that impact the undocumented, which included , the Federal Building, the Metropolitan Correction center, DePaul university and St. Peter’s in the Loop. We stopped at each site and heard the familiar , “There’s no room at Inn,” to shed light on the ways the undocumented have “no room” in our legal system with much red tape and confusing legislation. This early morning procession in the Loop was very cold and uncomfortable, conditions certainly felt by the Holy Family and this Posada lasted only two hours! For many, it is a way of life.
I met some wonderful people committed to bringing justice to the undocumented. “There is no room for you,” can poignantly be answered with, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” The Christmas mystery must transcend cultural expressions that at times can be superficial and empty. The Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ, was born to transform our world and the darkness of injustice. Justice and peace go hand in hand. Christmas is meaningful and joyful to the extent that it enters into our darkness, as individuals and as a society. The Holy Family did not have an easy go of it from the start. The mystery that unfolded on the road to Bethlehem and beyond was filled with trials , rejection , fleeing to Egypt from Herod’s jealous wrath , the slaughter of the innocents, not to forget, giving birth to the Savior of the world in a cave surrounded by animals. Not a pretty picture of twinkling lights and a village scene filled with beautiful snow covered hills and sleigh bells ringing.
The true meaning of Christmas is rooted in God entering our humanity-from within- by being born as a baby. In taking on our flesh and blood , all of creation was blessed and made holy. The first message of the Angels was “Peace on earth,” and the parting gift from jesus on the first Easter was “Peace.”
The Posada this morning was rooted in prayer and a gentle peace. The injustices encountered by the undocumented , the poor, the imprisoned, women and children “trafficked,” need to be brought into the Light. In becoming human and sharing in our human nature, Christ wants to share his divinity with us. Rooted in God’s Presence that dwells within our hearts , we can transform the darknesses of our lives and the world into the Light of hope and promise.
May each one of us…may YOU be s human “posada” or shelter, so that those who encounter you will find room in the Inn of you heart. The transformation of the world begins in your heart.
Peace and Joy. Fr. Frank