Tuesday 16th January 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Catholic Replies

December 22, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Many years ago, we read a column about some of the people alive at the time of Jesus’ birth who missed out on that first Christmas because they were preoccupied with other things. We can’t recall who wrote the column or we would give them credit for the idea. But we would like to share some of the insights that we can remember since they have just as much relevance today.

Those Who Missed Out On Christmas

There is no story in human history more familiar to us than the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. In the Scripture readings at Christmas, we will hear once again the details of this long-awaited and anxiously anticipated event, this turning point in human history that was not witnessed by earthly kings and their courts, but by a teenage mother and her husband, choirs of angels, a few shepherds, and some animals.
There were no news reporters or television cameras to record the coming of the Messiah, only some angels singing in the heavens. There was no “breaking news” coming out of Bethlehem, only the quiet arrival of the most famous Baby of all time.
We will hear in the readings at the Christmas Masses of the long and arduous journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the unavailability of a room at the inn, the birth of the Christ Child in a stable, angels singing on high, shepherds glorifying and praising God, Magi from the East bringing gifts of gold (symbolizing His kingship), frankincense (His divinity), and myrrh (His Passion and death). Yes, even at the birth of this Infant there was the shadow of the cross.
The Child should have been born in Nazareth, the hometown of Mary and Joseph, but as the time of His birth drew near, a secular ruler, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus, ordered a census of the parts of the world under his domination. The census required that each person should register in the town where his family originated, so Joseph and Mary had to travel 90 miles to the City of David.
Augustus had unwittingly helped to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:1 that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (“But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah,/ too small to be among the clans of Judah,/ From you shall come forth for me/ one who is to be ruler in Israel”). God has a way of using even those who do not believe in Him to help carry out His plans.
The name Bethlehem, by the way, means “House of Bread.” How fitting that the One who would call Himself the “Bread of Life” should be born there.
Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the Wise Men, Simeon and Anna in the Temple — these were the people who found Christmas. They were looking for the Messiah, and they were not caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world around them. They were not striving for material success or pleasure. They found Christmas because they were humble people, people who recognized their need for a Savior and who welcomed that Savior when He came.
These people might not have been considered important in the eyes of the society in which they lived, but they knew that they were important in the eyes of God. They may not have understood exactly what the birth of Jesus meant, but in their humility they knew that something of great significance was taking place, and they left themselves open to the working of God in their lives.
However, there were others in that remote corner of the world of that time who missed Christmas. They were very much a part of the Christmas drama, and should never have missed out on it, but they had other things on their minds, other interests and concerns. They were so enmeshed in their own little worlds that they never noticed the world-shaking event that was occurring in their midst.
Who were some of these people and why did they miss the most important birth in history?
One of them was the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away from his place of lodging. He apparently suggested that they stay in his stable, which was nothing more than a cave on a hillside that sheltered animals. He must have noticed that the young woman who had come to the door of his inn was expecting a child at any moment, but he could not find room for her, just as so many today cannot find room in their houses or in their hearts for pregnant women and their babies.
The innkeeper should not have missed Christmas, of course, if for no other reason than that he was so close to it. The decree of the Emperor had brought the Holy Family to the town of Bethlehem. They had stood at the innkeeper’s door, perhaps even entered his waiting room, but he was too preoccupied with business to pay them more than fleeting attention. He was like many today who are so caught up with business, with shopping, and with parties that they miss the true meaning of Christmas.
The second person who missed the first Christmas, not surprisingly, was King Herod. He was an evil man, a man who would hesitate at nothing to keep himself in power, even the murder of at least one wife and three sons. When the Magi arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, asking about a “newborn king of the Jews” whose star they had seen in the sky, Herod became “greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Fearing a threat to his rule over the people of Judea, he called in some of the chief priests and scribes and inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they informed him. So Herod told the Wise Men to go to Bethlehem and “search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” When Herod learned later that the Magi had started back to their own country without reporting to him, he ordered his soldiers to kill all boys two years of age and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.
But an angel warned Mary and Joseph of the danger to the Christ Child, and the trio fled into Egypt, not to return to Palestine until an angel told them that Herod had died.
King Herod should not have missed Christmas, either. He knew of the birth of the King of the Jews and its significance. God had given him an opportunity to change his evil ways, but instead of worshiping the Savior of the world, Herod tried to kill him. This earthly king was so addicted to power and greed that he missed the arrival of his heavenly King. His counterparts today are also so attached to power and pleasure, greed and glory, that they miss the presence of their heavenly King, too, as well as the love, the friendship, and the happiness that come to those who worship the King of Kings.
Another group of persons who missed that first Christmas included the religious leaders in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the scribes. They of all persons should not have missed the birth of the Messiah because they had studied the Scriptures which foretold His birth in Bethlehem of Judea. Even though they gave this information to Herod, they did not accompany the Wise Men to Bethlehem.
Why not? Perhaps it was their pride and arrogance, their unwillingness to accept the testimony of the Magi, their attitude that they were wiser and better informed than other people. But whatever the reason, the religious establishment in Jerusalem chose to ignore the signs of the times.
As it was in Palestine two millennia ago, so it is today. We have our modern-day Pharisees, too. These are the people who are interested in titles and fame, who lord it over others instead of serving them. They think that they have all the answers and they lack the humility necessary to bow down before the Child in the manger. In fact, they don’t even want mangers on public display or any public mention of Christ and Christmas lest people stop listening to them and start listening to the One who is the reason for the season.
There will surely be many persons who will find Christmas this December, but just as surely there will also be those who will miss it. Please God, nothing will ever prevent us from accepting the Prince of Peace into our hearts and into our lives.
A Blessed Christmas to all!

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vikings quarterback lists winning pass as 3rd best life-moment, behind finding Jesus

January 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum said throwing the game-winning pass in the last few seconds of Sunday’s championship game against the New Orleans Saints was only the third best moment in his life. Keenum’s first best…Continue Reading

On the purpose of politics and the salvation of souls

“Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal creator of all things, today became our Savior by being born of a mother. Of his own will he was born for us today, in time, so that he could lead us to…Continue Reading

Don’t let fear keep you from welcoming the stranger, Pope says

Vatican City, Jan 14, 2018 / 04:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At a special Mass Sunday for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said that while it is normal to be afraid of the unknown, we can’t let…Continue Reading

Notre Dame could face legal investigation for flip-flopping on contraception coverage

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of over sixty Notre Dame alumni attorneys has written an open letter to the university’s president, Father William Jenkins, CSC, to protest the university’s decision to continue the dissemination of…Continue Reading

Poland: Marches of the Three Kings Draw 1.2 Million

Under the motto “God is for everyone”, 1.2 million Poles in more than 660 cities and towns in Poland and abroad joined in the March of the Three Kings. This year’s event was accompanied by fundraising “Kings for the East”,…Continue Reading

Bishops’ letter on sexual identity prompts LGBT counter-lobbying

Washington D.C., Jan 5, 2018 / 12:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several Catholic bishops’ call for clarity and compassion on sexual identity issues such as transgenderism drew the ire of a dissenting Catholic group which is part of a well-funded LGBT…Continue Reading

Rural Minnesota Catholic parish dismisses musicians over gay marriages

For weeks now, a Catholic parish in the rural St. Croix River Valley north of the Twin Cities has been praying through turmoil, brought by a trio of startling dismissals. On one hand, even many of the most distressed don’t…Continue Reading

Trump replaces Obama-appointed gay ambassador with family man: report

MADRID, January 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump Administration recently installed a new Ambassador to Spain. The former Obama appointee who was a pro-LGBT openly gay man ‘married’ to a man was replaced with a family man who has a…Continue Reading

Former bishop of Charlotte’s Catholic diocese dies at 90

Bishop William Curlin, who presided over the rapidly growing Catholic Diocese of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center. He was 90. The cause of death was cancer, which he had battled for years. Curlin was…Continue Reading

Pope takes 27 candidates a step closer to sainthood‎

Pope Francis has authorized 12 decrees on miracles, martyrdom and heroic virtues of 22 men and 5 ‎women. ‎ by Robin Gomes Pope Francis on Monday took 27 men and women a step closer to sainthood.  The Pope received Card. Angelo Amato,…Continue Reading

Catholic League: Boston Globe Refuses to Name Its Own Abusers

The Boston Globe, which has turned stories about child sexual abuse by Catholic priests into a cottage industry, refuses to publish the names of its own staff members who have been charged with sexual harassment, according to Bill Donohue, president…Continue Reading

Facebook Nixes Photo of Vatican Nativity Scene as ‘Sexually Provocative’

In one of the least likely stories of all time, Facebook has vetoed a photo of the Vatican’s yearly Nativity scene, referencing its policy against “sexually suggestive or provocative” images. The manger scene integrates into the typical depiction of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

U.S. Congressman: Pro-life ‘turf battle’ preventing vote on bill to ban nearly all abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life groups and members of Congress are divided over whether on the day of the March for Life, the U.S. House should vote on a bill that would ban nearly all abortions, or instead a bill to ban infanticide after botched abortions. The Heartbeat Protection Act would make it illegal to abort babies whose heartbeats can be detected. “It’s the most protective incremental bill in existence,” said one…Continue Reading

Professor rebukes new Academy for Life member’s ‘disastrous’ approval of contraception

ROME, January 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A prominent Austrian Catholic philosopher has issued a forceful rebuttal to the call of a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life to allow contraception in some circumstances. Professor Josef Seifert, co-founder of the International Academy of Philosophy (IAP) and a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has said the positions of Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, delivered on Dec. 14, 2017 during a public lecture at the…Continue Reading

Catholic groups decry end of immigration protection for Salvadorans

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the Catholic Church in the U.S. began observing National Migration Week, a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that it would end an immigration program for thousands of Salvadorans, one of the largest groups of modern-day immigrants in the country and one that includes many Catholic

New Academy for Life member uses Amoris to say some circumstances ‘require’ contraception

ROME, January 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8…Continue Reading

Justice Thomas Opens Up On Life, Faith And His Interracial Marriage

Justice Clarence Thomas is in his 27th term in the U.S. Supreme Court, and he agreed to become the 341st leader interviewed for my Daily Caller News Foundation series. Now at age 69, he is looking back on his life with gratitude and discernment with valuable lessons for others. People often want to define you by the bad things that happen in your life, he says, but there has been so much good amidst the…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Sexual Harassment “Crisis” — Time For Some Clear Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Revisiting “The Four Loves”: The Four Rights

By DONALD DeMARCO C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves, which was published in 1960, is a classic. The author succeeded with his accustomed wit and wisdom in showing how four kinds of love — affection, friendship, amorous love, and charity — are both distinctive as well as interrelated. He penned this work just three years before…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima… The Close Of The Fatima Centenary

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth and final article in a series on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. The staff and readers of The Wanderer wish to thank Fr. Connolly for his scholarly and inspiring…Continue Reading

Court Strikes Baltimore Forced Abortion Speech Law

BALTIMORE — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 5 struck down a Baltimore City Ordinance seeking to impose notification requirements on unlicensed pregnancy centers. The ordinance compelled these pregnancy resource centers to post notices that conspicuously state in English and Spanish that they do not provide nor refer women for abortions or birth…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Sexual Harassment “Crisis” — Time For Some Clear Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

“Ad Orientem” Dei Gloriam

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We have all heard the saying that “he who hesitates is lost.” We don’t hear enough about the fact that dithering in the face of opportunity can also mean the loss of an immortal soul. How many priests hesitate every day to courageously proclaim the truth or to offer the traditions of the Church in…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Confirmation: A Spiritual Coming Of Age

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 11 In previous lessons, we have learned that out of the seven sacraments instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, three of them can be received only once in life, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. This is so because they imprint a “character,” that is, a spiritual, indelible mark that lasts forever, and, therefore,…Continue Reading

Requirements For Matrimony

By DON FIER The celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony between two baptized Catholics, as we saw last week, normally takes place during the Eucharist. “Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a…Continue Reading

Follow The Lord And Repent

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: John 3:1-5, 10 1 Cor. 7:29-31 Mark 1:14-20 In the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry, the first message He spoke, as St. Mark recorded it, was that it is a time of fulfillment and that the Kingdom of God is at hand; therefore, it is necessary to…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In the Mass readings leading up to Christmas, we have the Angel Gabriel appearing first to Zechariah and then to Mary. Both seemed to have the same doubts about the angel’s words, but Zechariah was struck mute and Mary was not. Why were they treated differently? — E.M., via e-mail. A. Zechariah was punished because he doubted (“How shall…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord has no limits and conditions for persons whom He calls to sainthood. They may be the richest, such as St. Francis of Assisi, or the poorest such, as the children of Fatima. They may be powerful, such as St. Louis, king of France, or humble, such as our Lady. They may be the most brilliant,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John The Apostle

By CAROLE BRESLIN John the Apostle, who wrote one of the four Gospels, three letters, and the Book of Revelation, is known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Perhaps because John was so young, innocent, virginal, and pure Jesus loved him in a special way. Or perhaps it was because He knew that John would be the only apostle who…Continue Reading