Friday, December 24, 2010

O little town of Bethlehem

There is in the missal there is a mass with its own readings for Dec. 24 in the morning. The readings for the final mass of advent recall the promise to David to raise up from his heirs a kingdom without end,
I cannot celebrate this day without recalling my time in the Spring in the Holy Land and Bethlehem in particular. Only about 5 miles from Jerusalem, the Christian population continues to dwindle. When we hear the word Palestinian we forget that many Palestinians were until recently Christians, the politics of the few decades have caused young Bethlehem Christians to leave their homeland in droves.
Tonight the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal فؤاد طوال will celebrate Midnight Mass in Bethlehem in a church crowded with tourists. But when the tourist go home he remains to keep the Catholic faith alive in a local church struggling to survive. I had the opportunity to visit with him, and was honored by the time he took to sit with three of us and discuss the situation. The good news is that he was able to report some signs of hope, but there is no doubt that it is difficult. In our prayers this Christmas let us remember and pray for him and his church.
The video of the mass I presided at in the church of the nativity is on my Facebook page.
With Evening Prayer tonight the Christmas Season begins.