The key to this O Antiphon, for me, is to ask myself what “opens the door” to the kingdom or realm of God? Yesterday we had our Christmas celebration at the Santo Nino center in Anapra, Mexico. Our children with special needs had front row seats, surrounded by their families and our team of mother-therapists. We started with a simple posada, two of our children carrying tiny nativity figures of Mary and Joseph to beg entrance at the door of our lunch room. The singing was enthusiastic if more-than-a-little off key! Then we heard the Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel.
One key to the kingdom came for me during the anointing of our children along with their mothers, sisters and brothers. Father Denny O’Mara leaned close to hear every name. The blessing was absolutely personal and reverenced the life of each one. The holy chrism oil touched the forehead, the crown, the ear…whatever could be accessed on our often squirming or spasming children. “Jesus te ama.” Yes, Jesus loves each of us and draws near even as we sometimes are moving targets.
The second key was at the sharing of the meal. Our team of mothers dished up plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn—and salsa! Although I have seen the miracle of the loaves so many times, I couldn’t help but peek over their shoulders to see if we had enough. “Have we had the multiplication of the mashed potatoes?” I asked Luci. “Si, madre!” As always. God provides.
A third key was during the wait on the international bridge coming back into the U.S. As we inched along I watched the people selling everything from Christmas tablecloths to windshield wipers. I heard one man playing a saxophone, another a clarinet, and a duo playing guitars and singing norteno music for tips on the pedestrian walkway. I saw a mother with two small children wearing flip-flops, knocking at car windows to beg. I saw an emaciated young man with many body piercings and a midriff bared to show a dirty colostomy bag. He was begging too. This last key is still in the hand of my heart. I’m afraid to use it. What will it open for me, require of me, in this last week of Advent? If all of these people are bearing Christ to the world then what is my response?