Jesus' story is a human story. Although He lived two thousand years ago in a culture and climate different from ours, His story is our shared human story. Who has not suffered discrimination because of our family history, education, status, age, profession, social class, ethnicity, or simply the color of our skin? Jesus was discriminated against too.
I am blessed to have served as a priest for 17 years in our Holy Cross ministries in Peru. I love Christmas in Peru. As night falls on Christmas Eve, a quiet settles, along with a sense of waiting. Christmas Eve Mass is celebrated around 10 p.m. The Churches are packed for beautiful celebrations as the feast begins, and people return to their homes, yet there is still a sense of waiting—until midnight!
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At the end of a 30-minute sermon on gratitude, a visiting preacher said, "And remember, no matter how small the gift, always be grateful to the Lord." Later, when it was time for the collection, an usher used the preacher's hat to take up the offering. When the hat returned to the preacher, he shook it carefully but didn't hear any sound. Then he turned it upside down. But nothing came out. It was empty!
Today’s readings are a great example of how the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament. At times, it takes a great deal of study to see it, and then, on other days like today, it’s right there!
A five-year-old boy was dying in Calcutta. The medicine that could save him was available only in Europe, so the frail, old father of the boy approached Mother Teresa and desperately begged for help. The saintly founder of the Missionary of Charity painfully confronted the teary-eyed man: “I’m sorry…I have no stock of such medicine. I had requested our donors in Europe to send me this medicine, but I have not received any reply. But trust God. The Good Lord will provide.”
In his book 'Taking Flight,' Antony de Melo narrates a beautiful story. There once lived a man so godly. He had no notion that he was holy. His holiness lay in this—he forgot each person's past and looked beyond each person's appearance. He loved and forgave everyone he met; it was his way of looking at people.