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Father Muench Says...

Christmas wish: be ready to change the world

Dec. 25, 2013

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

May your Christmas be filled with love and peace.  May your family discover again the love of the new born Savior. 

You will all be remembered in my Christmas Masses.

A Christmas Poem by Catherine Doherty (from “Donkey Bells” by Catherine Doherty)
I saw a Child stand,
Royally bedecked
In crown, scepter,
And finely wrought white garments,
And a crimson cloak.
I saw a child.
And suddenly I knew
The secret of all mystery,
And of all immensity.

Eternity opened
Its sublimity to me
I looked into
The Face of Ecstasy
For hidden there
Before my eyes
Was love
Become a child
For love of me!

The most popular person on the planet this Christmas is our Holy Father, Pope Francis.  Everybody is writing about him and talking about him. This Christmas and this end of year reflections, he is the rage.  Time Magazine and many others have chosen him as the Person of the Year.

There has been a flurry of op-ed columns written about him.  The television and radio news can’t get enough of him. 

Pope Francis has encouraged all of us to be evangelizers – to get ourselves out in the street – to get the message of Jesus and of the Church out to everyone. I suspect he never realized that he would lead the way – that he would be the number one evangelizer – the witness for all of us.

The best story about him that I have heard lately – with an obvious Christmas twist to it – just isn’t true. 
The story is that Pope Francis went out into the streets in disguise to bring food and necessities to the street people of Rome.  Well, it never happened.  However, I wish it had – wouldn’t it be a wonderful story?

Actually, I do suspect that Pope Francis did send help out to the street people in various other ways.

A Pope would be a perfect one to write a Christmas novel about. It would be a Christmas story of a Pope who goes down into the slums of a city like Rome every Christmas to give out gifts and food to those in need.  Pope Francis could easily be a model of such a story.  I guess there is just too much security these days to make it all possible, but it certainly would be fun – to march around the city with Pope Francis to help the needy at Christmas.

There is a present day Christmas message for all of us that comes from Pope Francis.  The Pope wants us to get out into the world and do something – do something good for somebody.  So what am I supposed to do?  Now here is what I believe.  Each day of our lives – especially at Christmas time – God places innumerable opportunities and challenges into our lives – ways of doing something good, something helpful, even something miraculous.  Usually, these opportunities are surprises for us – unplanned surprises – but because we are open to the Lord and faith-filled, we are ready to follow God’s lead.

My Christmas prayer for you and for me is that we are ready. The Lord needs us today and each day – to transform this world – to make it better – to do something in the spirit of our Savior.

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