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Evansville, Indiana
December 11, 1987     The Message
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December 11, 1987
 

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4 Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evsmndnp_ December 11. 1987 "Christ is Anglo and Hispanic, Christ is Chinese and black, Christ is Vietnamese and Irish, Christ is Korean and Italian, Christ is Japanese and Filipino, Christ is native American, Croatian, Samoan and many other ethnic groups." (Pope John Paul II in Los Angeles, September 1987) Christmas is a day to discover Jesus. On this great holiday, Christians are like the shepherds who, hav- ing been visited by angels bringing ON PILGRIMAGE "good news," said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known tO US." The Gospel reading for the Mass at dawn this Christmas tells once again how the shepherds then "went in haste" to the place where Jesus had been born. Later, when the shepherds gave a "report" of their discovery, peo- ple were "astonished" at what they were told. Their astonishing good news is at the heart of Christmas. It is, we are told at the Mid- night Mass, the news of a "prince of peace." He exercises a vast dominion that is "forever peaceful." It is, moreov;r, welcome news for those who are burdened, who have "dwelt in the land of gloom." A light has shone for them, it is suggested. For the "grace of God has appeared." This good news is all about "the kindness and love of God" which has appeared, we hear dur- ing the Mass at dawn. It is good news about "mercy'! and about a Spirit "lavished on us." Again, we are told, the good news of Christmas is about some- one who empowers people "to become children of God." During the Mass for Christmas Day we are reminded that this is someone who "made his dwelling among us" and was "filled with enduring love." The discovery of Jesus might not seem a difficult task for Chris- tians, who have heard these many Christmases who h is. Yet, it seems, the discovery is an ongoing challenge, and not reserved to Christmas Day. Closely related to the discovery of Jesus is the ability to recognize him: to know his word; to discern the signs that he is present; to identify him in others. This ability grows over time if nurtured well. The question is, will he be recognized? The good news of Christmas is about someone with a very telling name. Hiszname is Emmanuel, we hear at the Mass for the vigil of Christmas. It is "a name which means 'God is with us.'" IIII II B --.......'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'-'.'."'.'.'.'." CHILDREN'S Pilgrims from the East By Janaan Manternach so they could honor him. NC News Service It seems that at least three wise r------'-'l men set out on a long pilgrimage J,--l ur story begins in an to the land of the Jewish people. I['\\;'1 enchanting land far Some say their names were Gaspar, J|J]] away in the East. It Melchior and Balthasar. They car- Ib../] may be Arabia or Per- ried precious gifts for the new L sia or Babylon. No king. one knows for sure. When they reached Jerusalem, "Ohe'warm night several learned the Magi went through the narrow, astrologers were gazing intently at winding streets askin about the the brilliant stars. They searched newborn king. for life's meaning in the position of We have seen .his star in the the stars and the movements of the planets. Most everyone believed the astrologers were wise men. They called them Magi. That night the Magi saw something awesome -- a wonderful new' star in the sky. The wise men were excited. They wondered what it might mean. They went off to search their .sacred scrolls for an answer. In the Scriptures of the Jewish people they found a clue: A star was the sign that a long awaited Messiah had been born. The wise men decided to find the newborn king East and have come to worship him," they said. The three pilgrims thought it strange that no one they spoke with seemed to know about the new king's birth. King Herod heard of the strangers from the East and their questions and was very upset. He was afraid his power might be taken away when the new king grew up. So he called together the experts who might know where the Messiah was to be born. They told Herod that centuries earlier the prophet Micah said the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Herod invited the Magi to visit him secretly. He told them to go to Bethlehem to find the child and then ordered them to come back and tell him where the infant king was. When the wise men left Herod's palace, they were overjoyed once again to see the star they had seen in the East. It went before them to Bethlehem and stopped over the place where the child was. Inside, they found Mary with her baby, Jesus. They bowed down and worshiped the infant king and gave him the gifts they had carried so many miles: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then they said goodbye. The wise men knew Herod would kill the baby if he found him. So they returned by a different route to their own land. (Ms. Manternach is the author of catechetfcal works, Scripture stories and original stories for children.) A Secret Message To decode the message, print the lette from each ornament into the space with the matching number. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 t0 11 t2 13 14 F From the bookshelf 1 In The Story of the Three Wise Kings, by 1 F Tomle DePaola, the star is very visible In the 1 delightful art. Another striking part of 1  DePaola's telling and Illustrating of the story is the way he has chosen to paint the mother 1 and child. They are pictured in the traditional I b pose referred to as "Seat of Wisdom, 1 Throne of Justice." According to DePaola, 1  this was the pose frequently used in Romanesque paintings of the adoration of 1 the three kings. This beautifully Illustrated 1 I and well-told story would be a good selec- I b tion to add to your collection of Christmas 1 books. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016. 1983. Paper- 1 back, $4.95.) I b I I I I