Do unto others

Solidarity with Christ requires solidarity with the poor

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

by Bill Scholl

After 2,000 years of romanticizing the incredible event of Our Savior’s birth, it’s easy to overlook the earthy, humble circumstances of the Godman’s birth.

Born on a governmentmandated road trip in a cave with a bunch of workingclass strangers coming by is hardly the birth plan any of us would choose, much less expect, for the King of the universe. Yet, this is exactly the type of labor and birth God the Father ordained for his son. Christ, in coming this way, brings himself into solidarity with all states of humanity and calls us to do the same.

Christ comes as the king. A good leader never asks of his people something he himself is not willing to do. Christ leads, even as an infant, by bringing himself as low as he can and is born into a situation entirely reliant upon God’s providence and the charity of strangers.

Solidarity is recognizing that God does not bless everyone equally with material goods, and that he calls us all to share from our abundance and rely on his help through the generosity of those who answer this call.

The rejections at the inn are a sad reminder of how most of us miss the incredible opportunity to help out the God-king in a rare moment of need. Would you have helped the Holy Family in their time of crisis? Think back to the last time you left your comfort zone to help a poor stranger. If you can’t think of a time, then you have your answer.

At Christmas, we celebrate God reconciling an estranged humanity — to be in solidarity with him in a way that amazed and baffled the angels. Jesus, the son of the God of abundance, could have had any kind of birth. That he chose so humble a circumstance is, in part, his gift to us. There is no state of poverty that disgraces because Jesus has been that poor or even poorer.

He is not only in solidarity with us in our nature but also in the distress of our daily trials. No matter what you are going through, you can look to Jesus and the Holy Family and know the God-man had it hard, too.

If we are to live in solidarity with God, then we must be in solidarity with Christ. The birth of that poor boy in poor circumstance shines the star of Bethlehem’s light on the crucial middle term of the equation: If we are to be in solidarity with Christ, then we must be in solidarity with the poor.

“For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9).

About the author

Deacon Bill Scholl

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