Bethlehem Bound – Luke 10:21-24 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

In this Gospel passage from St. Luke, Jesus thanks God for hiding the truth from learned men, while at the same time revealing that truth to children and the child-like.

Fr. Michael takes us into our childhood, reminding us of the simplicity, wonder and awe that children see the world with. His homily concludes with a poem whose text is posted below.

Click the arrow to hear more from Fr. Michael:

Bethlehem Bound with Mary
by J. Michael Sparough, SJ

Mary, come with me to the manger.
I want to grow young again, and I cannot go alone.

Each year I grow old in my soul. I don’t mean wise.
The eyes of my heart darken. The ears of my spirit harden.

You know – the racing pace and the tension of time,
Disappointment in her, anger at him, fear of this and hurt from that…

Like some old war veteran smarting over scars, I feel my wounds.
I am bent with grief at the pity of our lives.

But He comes! O yes, He comes! This little one.
He smiles at you. He laughs at me. We know He knows all hearts.

Frozen tombs under crafted masks. Embedded sins like warts on a soul.
More layers of tears than an onion.

But He Comes! The season has turned, and grace grows silently colorful.
New life arrives more surely than snows in winter or flowers in spring.

He comes! Yes, He comes again. This little one, with His tiny hands,
His innocent eyes, eager ears, open heart. He reaches out to you, to me.

O now in this favored hour we are kings! We are shepherds.
We are proud camels and timid mice called out from the cold.

Called to kneel, not in a perfumed palace, but a stench filled cave of wonder.
O the joy of such kneeling! For it is here we are reborn into youth.

This little one, His tiny hands, His innocent eyes,
Smiling and laughing at our grown up fears.

See now how He still reaches out to us, (yes, to you, to me!) so tenderly, playfully,
So lovingly He tears away our masks, like a child unwrapping Christmas gifts.

Come now, my friend, my Mother, let us go down to this House of Bread, Bethlehem bound,
Let our souls be fed as hungry farm animals, feasting from this manger of hope.

For behold! A God who comes to us unprotected,
Not even an onionskin around his heart, nor a disposable Pamper around His bottom.

I am not so innocent or so unprotected, and yet, Mary, you and I, and all
Whose hearts do dare to brave this journey, this day WE are again invited –

To watch, to wonder, to witness, yes, to birth this babe, Emmanuel, this gift, Our Savior!
Born in the cave of our heart, held in the manger of our soul, this Child Christ still waits for our kiss.

Oh, Jesu, to be such a lamb gazing at hidden glory,
Or even a dumb ox (or ass) kneeling in silent wonder.

I want to grow young again, and I cannot go alone.
Mary, come with me to the manger.

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