On the occasion of his 77th birthday, after having responded in an interview published yesterday to false allegations from some in the American political right that he is a Marxist, and false assumptions to some in the worldwide left that he intends to appoint a woman to the College of Cardinals (and therefore ordain her), Pope Francis returned to the altar this morning to celebrate his daily Mass at the chapel of the St. Martha residence in the Vatican, where he declared to the congregation that the real meaning of holiness is to "let God write our history."
“This is holiness: to let God write our history. And this is a Christmas wish for every one of us, that the Lord writes your history and that you let him write it. May it be so!” the Holy Father declared. “When God wishes to say who he is, he says ‘I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob.’ But what is God’s last name? It is ours, each one of ours. He takes our name to be his own last name. Approaching Christmas, one may come to think: if He has made his history with us, if He has taken his last name from us, if he has allowed us to write his history, at least we can allow Him to write our history.”
The geneology of Christ, which is found in the Gospel for today (Matt. 1:1-17), might not seem terribly exciting reading, the Pope acknowledged, but he said that a very important truth and reality is to be found in these verses. “One time I heard someone say: ‘But this bit of the gospel seems like a telephone directory!’ But no, it’s quite another thing. This passage of the gospel is pure history,” the Pontiff explained, pointing out that just as Jesus Christ is "consubstantial (of one substance) with the Father. and takes his divinity from God the Father, Jesus takes his humanity from his mother and that because Christ is both fully human and fully divine, he occupies a specific place in human history and in the human family. “God did not want to come to save us without history. He wanted to make history with us,” Francis said, pointing out that the history of Jesus' family was far from perfect, and that his geneology contained "saints... but in this list there are also sinners.”
Despite our human sinfulness and frailty “God has put himself in history! He is with us. He has made the journey with us!”