THE ANGEL ANNOUNCES REDEMPTION
The angel announces redemption
The Lord showed himself to the entire humanity in Bethlehem, a poor town which had not been prepared for such a great event. It all happened in a dirty cave, where – according to the Pope – there were not even the cow and donkey as the tradition recounts.
Up to that time only Mary and Joseph knew of the arrival of the Messiah and it was for this reason that the Lord’s Angel, probably Gabriel, who intervened as from the start, wanted to organize the presence of persons adoring the baby who had just been born. It is interesting to note that the angel did not announce the Messiah’s arrival in the taverns where the Holy Family had not been welcomed some time before. It’s as though this fact disqualifies these people from potentially being among those to be the first to adore the baby.
The angel therefore appeared to the shepherds who were in the nearby pastures with their herds. These people were capable of facing the most ferocious animal to defend their herd but the celestial appearance of the angels could have terrorized them. They had never experienced such an event! This was a special night which they were destined to remember. He told them:
“Do not be afraid, because behold, I am announcing joyful tidings to all the people.
Today in the town of David,
a Saviour was born who is the Messiah, the Lord.
And as a sign to all of you: you will find a baby in a crib."
Suddenly a great multitude of angels appeared in the sky, singing the Lord’s praises and saying:
"Glory to the God in the Heavens and peace to all men of good will"
What could the shepherds have understood by these mysterious words of the angel? They had certainly heard of the Messiah’s arrival destined to be the Shepherd of the Israeli people. If they had been told to go to Herod’s palace to look for the Saviour, it would have been very difficult for them. But if the angels, who had sung so celestially, invited them to visit a poor cave, what could have been more natural for those shepherds. They therefore made haste, and found Mary and Joseph with the baby wrapped up in strips of cloth and cradled in a crib.
Rev. Mons. Piotr Mazurkiewiz, Warsaw-Poland