Christmas today

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Induced labor

The time to give birth has come

After nine months of slow gestation, every mother is prepared to give birth because the baby in her womb is ready. When circumstances impede the natural process, doctors intervene in order to induce labor or, if the lives of the mother and child are in danger, perform an emergency Caesarean section.

Christmas is a time of birth for those who believe in Jesus. God has prepared the heart of every baptized person as a sacred womb where Emmanuel, God with us, grows. For some of us, God has spent many years gestating, patiently respecting the time we needed so that his life in us could reach maturity.

The pains arrive — labor must be induced or we run the risk of losing the life God wishes to be born through us. Hate, massacres, violence, hunger, injustice, racism, war, corruption are all sharp pains that make us realize the urgent need for a Caesarean in our hearts so that the only light that gives life can be born and bring change to the world: the birth of Jesus, the Son of God in our human flesh.

Labor pains fill us with confusion — we experience the joy of new life springing up in our hearts and at the same time we experience fear the future, fear of change and the challenges new life brings to daily life, and it causes us to doubt our capacity to face what is surprising and new.

The infinite wisdom of God that calls us to life and has chosen us to be disciples of his Son Jesus never makes mistakes and will not ask us to do what he knows we are not capable of doing. He asks us to give birth to mercy, mercy that he brought to life in our hearts by granting us his pardon. He asks us to give birth to joy, joy that he caused the day we first encountered him. He wants us to give birth with tenderness, the same tenderness with which he saved us from the solitude we lived in.

Risk of miscarriage

“My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19)

God, our Father, who has given us the gift of freedom and has prepared us at length for the light of Jesus in our lives, accepts the risk that we might miscarry his son. Our heart experiences contractions brought on by injustice, egotism and so many other pollutants in the womb of our soul. He wants our heart to dilate so that he can come into this world, wailing at the top of his lungs, born through new forms of peace, liberty, integrity and unity.

Kneeling within the depths of our soul, Jesus knows that he runs the risk of being miscarried at any moment. He feels the contractions of our soul. He knows full well that we want to bring him into this world, but he also feels and understands our anguish and fear for the future.

From the bottom of our full heart, Jesus cries out that he brings hope and joy for a world that walks in darkness. He will be life eternal for all those who give birth to him, but it must be a desired birth. Painful and perhaps messy, but a pathway to new life.

Mary knew how to let the Holy Spirit dilate her body and soul in order to bring Jesus into the world, throughout the centuries, making it possible for us to be here today. It’s our turn to give birth to Christ for the sake of those who will come after us. Even if it’s an induced birth, it always brings life, and life in abundance.

Have a holy and joyful birth.

Read the Spanish version of this column.

Northwest Catholic - December 2017

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.