Uncomfortable greetings from Don Tonino Bello
Dear friends, I would not be obeying my duty as bishop if I said "Merry Christmas" without disturbing you.
I, on the other hand, want to annoy you.
In fact, I can't stand the idea of having to send harmless, formal greetings imposed by the calendar routine.
I'm even flattering the hypothesis that someone rejects them to the sender as unwanted. Happy awkward birthday, then, my dear brothers!
Jesus who was born out of love gives you the nausea of a selfish, absurd life without vertical thrusts and allows you to invent a life full of donation, prayer, silence, courage.
May the Child who sleeps on the straw take away your sleep and make the pillow of your bed feel as hard as a boulder, until you have given hospitality to an evicted person, a Moroccan, a poor passing man.
May God who becomes a man make you feel like worms every time your career becomes the idol of your life, overtaking, the project of your days, your neighbor's back, an instrument of your climbing.
May Mary, who finds the cradle in which to tenderly lay the fruit of her womb only in animal dung, force you with her wounded eyes to suspend the yearning of all Christmas lullabies, until your hypocritical conscience accepts that the garbage can, the incinerator of a clinic become a grave without a cross of a suppressed life.
Giuseppe, who in the face of a thousand closed doors is the symbol of all the paternal disappointments, disturbs the hangovers of your dinners, reproaches the tepidness of your bingo games, causes short circuits to the waste of your illuminations, until you let yourself be put in crisis from the suffering of so many parents who shed secret tears for their children with no luck, no health, no work.
May the angels who announce peace still bring war to your sleepy tranquility unable to see that a little more than a span away, with the aggravating circumstance of your complicit silence, injustices are being perpetrated, people are being evicted, weapons are being manufactured, the earth is being militarized of the humble, peoples are condemned to extermination by hunger.
I poveri che accorrono alla grotta, mentre i potenti tramano nell’oscurità e la città dorme nell’indifferenza, vi facciano capire che, se anche voi volete vedere “una gran luce” dovete partire dagli ultimi.
That the handouts of those who play on people's skin are useless tranquilizers.
May the shepherds who keep watch in the night, "guarding the flock", and scrutinize the dawn, give you the sense of history, the thrill of waiting, the joy of abandonment in God. And may they inspire you the profound desire to live poor which is the only way to die rich.
Happy Christmas! On our old dying world, be born there hope.