Friday, January 1, 2021



This photo was taken in August of 2019 when Mother Provincial 

was visiting along with seven additional Little Sisters.  Local "Mother Paul" is on the far left.

The United States "Mother Provincial" is standing behind the wheelchair on the right. 


“Feast of Mary the Mother of God”

Rev. Ronald Knott

January 1, 2021 

The shepherds saw the infant in the manger, 

they made known what had been told them about this child; 

and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

All my life, I have read Luke’s version of the Christmas story, but this year I realized that I had not paid much attention to what the story says after the shepherds are confronted by angels with an amazing message. It says that after the angels had delivered their message to the shepherds, they “left the shepherds and went back to heaven.” 

Standing there scared to death at what they had just witnessed and heard, and after the angels had left them, the shepherds obviously discussed among themselves what had just happened and decided to “go see this thing that has taken place.”  Without delay, they “went with haste” and “found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger.”  It goes on to say that they “made known what had been told them (by the angels) about this child.”  In other words, they had a pressing need to go and tell others about it. When people heard what the shepherds told them, it says they were “amazed” at what they were hearing.

At the end of this same gospel, Luke’s gospel, we have another story similar to the one about the shepherds that I just read. This one takes place, not at his birth, but at the end of Jesus’ life, after his crucified body was placed in the tomb. Instead of shepherds, this time angels appear to some women with an important message. Yes, it was a “flock” of women – Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women who had come with them.” Just like the shepherds, the women were “terrified” by the angels message “He is not here! He has risen!

Just like the shepherds, after the angels left, the women went back to town and “told all this to the eleven and the rest 9of the disciples.” Unlike the “amazement” of the people who heard what the shepherds had told them, the women’s story was dismissed as “an idle tale” that did not deserve belief. Only Peter. who got up and ran to the empty tomb to see for himself, came back “amazed” at what had happened.  

What is so typical of Luke’s telling of the gospel, is the fact that the first people to carry the good news of Jesus birth are shepherds and the first people to carry the news of Jesus’ resurrection are women! The fist to hear these stories would have been “amazed” themselves! Both groups, shepherds and women, were “looked down on” and “passed over as not worthy of trust” in civil society of their times. Luke does that throughout his gospel. It is the “little guys,” the “left out,” “the passed over,” “the foreigner,” “the despised” who become the heroes of his stories.

Notice what words are used when we are told of various people’s responses to both stories.  There are lots of “feeling words” sprinkled throughout these stories. Angels with messages, leave the shepherds and the women “terrified.” Both the shepherds and the women were left “curious.” The shepherds go to the scene of the birth to take a look, and saw Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. The women go into the tomb to take a look, but they did not find the body of Jesus. Both the shepherds and the women felt the need to tell others about what they had heard and seen. The response to the shepherds’ story was “amazement.” The response the women’s story was “amazement,” but the amazement of an “idle tale.”  Mary’s response to what the shepherds had told her was to “treasure these words” and “ponder them in her heart.” Peter’s response was to go see for himself, coming home “amazed at what had happened.” 

What is your response to Luke’s story of Christmas? As for me, I sat for a while and tried to “feel what I feel.” As I “pondered” the story and “treasured their words,” the feeling that I felt most of all was that of “amazement.” It is sort of like the title the Church gives Mary today – “Mother of God!” Really? That is an “amazing title, if you really think about it! I don’t understand it! How can that be? Mary is God’s “mother?” Well, I believe it because the Church teaches it, but I cannot really explain it other than this: Jesus is God and Mary is the mother of Jesus, therefore Mary is the mother of God!  Like the whole Christmas story, I am just simply “amazed” by all of it!  


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