Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Mary gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
May God bless you during this holy Advent season! In this Christmas story, we often vilify the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away, leaving them no choice for shelter except a stable. A lesson we take from this is to make “room in the inn” of our own lives for Christ to come and to be born within us.
While this is certainly true, Thomas Merton once offered a commentary with a slightly different interpretation of this passage, one that is especially relevant to our annual Catholic Charities collection, which parishes will take up on the weekend of December 22-23.
Merton writes that when Christ came into this world, there was no room for Him, because He is out of place in it. His place is not with the privileged and powerful, but with many of our human family for whom there is no room: those without power or voice, the material poor, the forgotten elderly, refugees and unaccompanied minors fleeing violence and persecution, human trafficked victims, the homeless and so many other vulnerable children of God for whom there is no room in the inn for security, shelter and accessing basic human needs.
As a Church, we strive to make room in the inn of our hearts, families and parishes for those whom Jesus identifies as His sisters and brothers. One major way we do this is through the programs and services of Catholic Charities of Louisville, one of the service agencies of the Archdiocese. I encourage your generous response to this year’s Christmas collection, which helps support this important work carried out in our name throughout the 24 counties of our Archdiocese.
Please know that you and your families are in my prayers, as I ask God’s blessing on each of you during this holy time of year.
Sincerely yours in Our Lord,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville