Thursday, December 28, 2006

On the fourth day of Christmas...

Catholics in America, and I expect most countries where they are not the majority are slightly out of step with other Christians. While they celebrate during the few weeks before Christmas, putting up decorations, singing Christmas Carols, and preparing fro the festive day, Catholics are in the season of Advent, preparing not just for celebrating the birth of the Baby Jesus, but also for Jesus' Second Coming. When Christmas day is over, though most Christians don't immediately pull down their Christmas decorations, they are thinking now about celebrating New Year, with Christmas behind them. Catholics are just getting started. They still have the twelve days of Christmas ahead of them,
First there is the feast of St. Steven the first adult martyred in Christ's name. Steven was a deacon and I think that has it's own significance. On the night he was betrayed Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles. then he dies, rose again, and ascended into Heaven. Pentecost came and the next thing you know the Apostles are saying, "We shouldn't ignore the Word of God to wait tables..." So they appoint deacons to do the serving. And God calls upon one of them to be killed while preaching the word of God. I wonder what the Apostles thought of that?
Next there is the feast of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist. At his crucifixion Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to "the one who he loved." Of all the Apostles John was the only one to die of old age.
Then there is the feast of the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. These are all of the children murdered by Herod, as described in the Gospel of Matthew. Though unbaptized, these innocents are the first martyrs and so were baptized in the blood of the Lamb, the first of those souls saved by man-God Jesus, excepting perhaps for his mother, born without the stain of Original Sin, for His sake.
So celebrate on, these are pivotal pieces of our Catholic heritage. Still eight days till the Wise Men come calling.

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