The Word of God, at a special time and in a special place, came to a man named John (Luke 3:1-6). That Word was given a voice in this Baptizer who with comfort and challenge stated that “the winding roads would be made straight, the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God!” They echo the words of Baruch (5:1-9) that the days of mourning are at an end and that robes of death should be replaced with the “cloak of justice,” a sign of the promised new life that comes from God.
This past Thursday’s (December 6) Feast of Saint Nicholas, the 4th century Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, illustrates how one voice and one person can truly make a difference in the rough and winding places of other’s lives. According to legend, Nicholas, as a youth, was concerned with the needs of the unfortunate and the oppressed. He provided a dowry for each of the 3 daughters of a poor nobleman and thus was able to obtain a husband for each with their purity intact. Thus he is the patron of unmarried women and brides! He is said to have calmed a storm at sea through prayer and is thus the patron of sailors, dock workers, and fisherman. He is also said to be the patron of “brewers” but there was no story attached to that legend! Of course, he is best known as “Santa Claus” (Sinter Claus from the Dutch) he is known as patron saint of children … and travelers! His relics are enshrined at the Cathedral in Bari, Italy.
Yesterday’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, although not observed with the obligation to attend Mass this year, it a bold reminder that one person’s actions and purity of heart, plays a significant role in salvation history.
The Annual Nativity display will take place next weekend in Saint John Bosco Hall. I hope that you will take some time to make a pilgrimage to Bethlehem right here in Clermont. I also hope that the following Prayer of Blessing for a Nativity Scene may be useful as you continue preparations for the coming holy days of the Christmas season:
God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have manifest your love. When our need for a Savior was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary. To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy and love.
Lord, bless all who will look upon this manger. May it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus, and raise up our thoughts to Him, who is God-with-us and Savior of all, and who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
I thank you, for your participation in our Angel Tree which will so generously touch the lives of children, families, and the elderly who are confined in our parish’s nursing facilities.
May the week ahead be filled with every grace and blessing!