Posted by: fvbcdm | November 29, 2011

Feast of Saint Saturninus (29 Nov 2011)

Those who attend Mass today or read the scripture passages chosen by the Church for today’s Mass will find that the gospel contains these words of Our Lord found in the account of his life by Saint Luke: I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike.

The concepts of childhood and of being childlike are very important in our holy faith, received from Our Divine Lord himself. And as we begin the holy season of Advent, we find ourselves looking forward to the first of the two great Christian festivals.  It is that of Christmas, in which the Almighty God comes to us as a newborn baby. When the glorious angels appeared in the night sky over Bethlehem and spoke to the startled shepherds “watching their flocks by night,” they told the shepherds that the promised Savior had been born.  Had been BORN? That implies humanity, since only men and animals are born, and surely the Savior was not to be an animal. And furthermore, it implies infancy, since babies, not adults, are born.  Born in a palace? Surrounded by wealth? Attended by many servants? Accompanied by all the trappings of power, kingship, or aristocrisy? No; none of that.  A baby, wearing simple diapers and lying—not even in a bed, but in a manger where animals are fed because there was no room for him in the local inn.

Yesterday, I came across some Christmas carols on my computer, and one that I listened to was “The Little Drummer Boy” which is always popular at this time of year. When my classmates and I were seminarians, we used to go to sing for the patients in the local hospitals of Dubuque, Iowa, where our seminary was located.  And our audiences always wanted to hear “The Little Drummer Boy” more than any of the others, beautiful as they are.  As I listened again to those simple, childlike words, they brought back so many memories and so much of the theology of childlikeness that Our Lord speaks of in the gospel.  You probably remember them, too: I had no gift to bring, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum; to lay before the king, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.  So the little drummer boy asked the young mother if he could play his drum for the baby.  Mary nodded, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. I played my drum for him.  I played my best for him: pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. 

You and I are children in comparison with the wisdom and the age of our eternal Father and his divine Son.  We each have our own gifts, our abilities, our talents.  It might not be drumming on a toy drum, but whatever it is, we want to do it for the Lord, and we want to do it “the best we can.”  It’s remarkable to me how clearly and charmingly this simple Christmas carol captures the spirit of Our Lord in the gospel.  Let it speak to you today and make you a child again playing a little drum for the little King who comes to redeem us. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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