Manger becomes a throne at Midnight Mass

by GEORGE RICHERT
Sun, Dec 25th 2016 01:00 am
Bishop Richard J. Malone places the Baby Jesus in the manger during the procession at Midnight Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral (Patrick McPartland)
Bishop Richard J. Malone places the Baby Jesus in the manger during the procession at Midnight Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral (Patrick McPartland)

"There's something very special about Midnight Mass on the Birthday of our Lord," said Bishop Richard J. Malone, as he celebrated  Midnight Mass of the Lord's Nativity at St. Joseph Cathedral. Bishop Malone recalled staying up to attend Midnight Mas even as a child. "My Mom would always make sure I slept for a while so I was alert as an altar server at Midnight Mass."

The St. Joseph Cathedral Choir sang hymns as hundreds filled the pews for the late Mass. In his homily, Bishop Malone pointed out that Christmas has always been a time of wonder and awe." It really comes down to an amazing, even an astonishing truth. God himself stepped suddenly into our world in Bethlehem. The simple humble manger we see here becomes a throne for the king of the universe. Christmas and this Mass recognizes this awesome truth and celebrates it again and again. I think it's why at Christmas time even our brothers and sisters who have become kind of disaffected with the church are so often drawn back to church at Christmas. Somehow, we all know deep down that the birth of Jesus Christ makes all the difference for each of us personally, for our families, for our world."

Bishop Malone noted how much he enjoys seeing parents or grandparents bringing children to the front of the cathedral to see the Nativity scene. "As we gaze upon the manger tonight, as we look with eyes of faith at a baby who is God, heed the words of Pope Francis in his homily at Christmas Mass; 'Let us touch the tenderness which saves. Let us draw close to God who draws close to us. Let us pause to look on the crib and imagine the birth of Jesus.  Let us enter into the real Nativity with the shepherds talking to Jesus, and taking to him all that we are. Then, in Jesus, we will enjoy the flavor of the true spirit of Christmas, the beauty of being loved by God. With Mary and Joseph, we pause before the manger, before Jesus who was born as bread for my life."

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