As you know the Vincentian Fathers serve in many places throughout the world. Here in the States many of our priests are involved in Hispanic Ministry. One of the customs/practices from the Spanish speaking community that the men often talk about is Las Posadas.
The Posadas happen closer to Christmas but I think that it is a custom that speaks to the entire Season of Advent. Posadas is the Spanish word for Inn and the event that is recalled are Mary and Joseph looking for a room in the Inn on their arrival in Bethlehem.
People have clear roles. For some they are part of the group travelling with Mary and Joseph seeking room in the Inn. Others are with the Inn keeper, already inside, enjoying the warmth and company.
And so homes in the parish are chosen and people assume their various roles. There are those on the outside and those content inside who find the knocking and calling out an annoyance. Two different experiences but hopefully both experiences that bring about a change of heart when the door is finally open.
Those on the outside, after being rejected multiple times, persist because of their desire to bring the Messiah to those in the house. Those in the house, because of the persistence, eventually open the door. This action brings the Messiah into their homes and lives.
Advent is that special time in the Church’s year when we are called again to look for the coming Lord-whether at the end of time or again this year as we celebrate Christmas. It is a time of grace when Christ does once again want to manifest himself to us. Our prayer is once again COME THOU LONG EXPECTED SAVIOR!
The Posadas are a reminder to the community that Christ seeks, all the time, to enter our lives but we become distracted with everything else in our lives and do not hear the rattling of the door. May we not be distracted by other things but open the door for a new encounter with Christ.
How can we do that?
- Finding him with those who are alone.
- Finding him with those who are needy and who we can gift.
- Finding him in increase time of prayer.
The important thing is to respond to that rattling at the door.