Living in Faith Subscription Offers with 40% Discount
800
ONE YEAR
12 Issues
1500
TWO YEARS
24 Issues
2100
THREE YEARS
36 Issues
2500
CHRISTMAS OFFER
Three Year Subscription to Living in Faith +
16 Faith Formation Books for Children

Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem: Invitation to be born in Christ

The Church of Nativity tells us that we need to be born as challenging voices against unjust structures and systems and that is clearly the meaning of to be born in Christ. See, where did Jesus speak about the need to be born again? He spoke to Nicodemus, leader of the Jews who came to him at night (John 3): “I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit.”

Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem: Invitation to be born in Christ

By Joe Palathunkal
As Christians we are baptized in Christ but whether we are born in Christ is debatable and the most important historical spot of Christianity in Bethlehem is the most visible and eloquent invitation for all Christians to be born in Jesus Christ.


Inside Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem

When we visit the Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem constructed by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena in 333 AD, we must not look at it as a mere spot of tourism but as a monumental invitation to be born in Christ especially at a time when what the birth of Christ proclaimed to the whole world through the angels and the shepherd is in real danger.


Constantine the Great and his mother Helena

Yes, peace is in danger not only because of explicit battles and physical violence but also because of the customs and systems that implicitly and explicitly hold values and practices that do away with peace.

That is why Pope Francis said: “The economic system that has the god of money at its center, and that sometimes acts with the brutality of the robbers in the parable, inflicts injuries that to a criminal degree have remained neglected. Globalized society frequently looks the other way with the pretence of innocence. Under the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable, one looks at those who suffer without touching them. But they are televised live; they are talked about in euphemisms and with apparent tolerance, but nothing is done systematically to heal the social wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside. This hypocritical attitude, so different from that of the Samaritan, manifests an absence of true commitment to humanity.”


Pope Francis

When we are born in Christ, we will have true commitment to humanity, we will become the eyes, ears, hands and mouth of Jesus who was born in a stable in Bethlehem to tell us in unambiguous terms that our efforts to be born in wealth and glory will never make shepherds, the marginalized ones, to rush to us nor it will enable us to go to them.

The Church of Nativity tells us that we need to be born as challenging voices against unjust structures and systems and that is clearly the meaning of to be born in Christ. See, where did Jesus speak about the need to be born again? He spoke to Nicodemus, leader of the Jews who came to him at night (John 3): “I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit.”


A visual of Nicodemus visiting Jesus

When he spoke to the leader of the Jews, he was telling him implicitly that the structures and systems you have built up is not at all suitable for the kingdom of God and you must be born again in me if you want to bring that kingdom on earth. Night symbolically indicates the dark aspects of that system. That is why pope tells us to speak to the systems also. That is the message the Church of Nativity loudly proclaims to the whole world.

If you are born in Christ, you can bring hope to millions of people who have lost hope because the birth of Christ was the greatest hope giving birth in history because the marginalized and the voiceless found the light of liberation and salvation in a king born in a stable identifying fully with their living situation and condition; they have now a God to identify with. The Church of Nativity is the iconic invitation to all of us to be born into that God if we want to bring hope to the hopeless and that is why Pope Francis says “the Nativity transmits hope; each one of the figures is immersed in this atmosphere.”



The Basilica of Nativity, built over a period of 240 years by two emperors – Constantine and Justinian – should not be looked upon as a mere structure of 12000 square meters having some tourist scope but it should be looked upon as a great invitation to be born in Christ to challenge inhuman structures and to purify putrefied faiths so that the hope and peace announced at the birth of Jesus may become a living reality among all the people. To be born in Christ means challenging all that is not Christian, all that is pagan where the values of Christ are totally absent.

By looking at the Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem, each visitor must promise to be born in Christ as his instruments that can take on everything that is unchristian and that is what Pope Francis reminds us when he says: “the Lord promises rest and liberation to all the oppressed in the world, but he needs us to make his promise effective.He needs our eyes to see the needs of our brothers and sisters. He needs our hands to help. He needs our voice to denounce the injustices committed in silence, sometimes complicit, of many.”

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)

Get the world�s most loved and largest selling Catholic Missal praying and living the Eucharist in India. Fabulous Offer: 36 Issues for just Rs 2100/-
News world

LATEST STORIES

Sign up for Living in Faith Newsletter

La Croix International