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KOINONIA Nº 120 – 2023.4: YEAR 30

THE NATIVITY SCENE IN THE CHURCH

20 December 2023

In this last issue of Koinonia 2023, we would like to present to you “The Nativity Scene in the Church,” thus bringing to a close the four themes in which the general topic was developed: “Franciscans in the Celebration of Jubilees.”[1]

The Nativity scene is one of the pivotal points for understanding the story of Salvation, which is revealed through the mystery of the incarnation of the Word of God, who „though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Fil 2,7).

It recalls and updates the event that occurred more than two thousand years ago: the birth of the Baby Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem.

It is the crib, a word that means manger. “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2: 12).

The newly born Jesus is thus placed on a manger, a simple structure used to feed animals, but which symbolizes the paten and the Eucharist, from which our spiritual nourishment is fed.

I want to invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to direct your gaze towards the people who make up the Crib, in the light of what the Holy Scripture and tradition show us, and above all, in the light of the two Jubilees whose anniversary we are celebrating this year: the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Rule and the Crib prepared by St Francis in Greccio.


These two Jubilees challenge us to renew our baptismal commitments, to have more love and truth for our vocation, and to be ever more committed to our mission as Franciscans.

Starting from the Rule to arrive at the Manger of Greccio is the same as saying start from the Gospel to arrive at the Rule.


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[1] The 800 years of the Franciscan Order's Later Rule (29 November 1223) and of the Christmas of Greccio (25 December 1223). Rule and Christmas at Greccio have an intimate and profound bond, because the Rule is the way of living the Gospel of the One celebrated at Greccio, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Francis there is a perfect coincidence between Gospel and Rule, paraphrasing Gianluigi Pasquale in his book: San Francesco la risposta alla domanda che nessuno pone, ed. La Fontana di Siloe, Torino, 2019, 228. 

 

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