Monday, December 22, 2014

A Community at the Manger

Sister Mary Frate, D.C., serves at St. Jude Parish in Tuba City, Ariz., on the Navajo Reservation. Sister shares her thoughts about the nativity scene.

Like the silhouette at the left, most nativity scenes picture Mary, Joseph and the newborn Jesus alone in the Bethlehem stable. But recently I read a conference (by Patrick Griffin, CM) that posed this question: Would Mary and Joseph have been the only poor family traveling to Bethlehem that night for whom there was no room in the inn? Might that stable have been crowded with other poor families coming to Bethlehem to register who had nowhere else to stay?

Picture the scene with a community of poor people sharing their meager resources with each other and being among the first to be blessed by Jesus! This is a powerful image that underscores the importance of community, whether it be friends helping friends or strangers reaching out to each other.

Here at St. Jude's we are aware that we are blessed as a community: a community of Navajo, Hopi, Anglo, Filipino, Hispanic people who gather each Sunday around the Eucharist, and find many ways to reach out to the poor among and around us. We are also blessed by a wider community that stretches in all directions across the United States. A community–many of whom we have never met–reaching out to us to share time, talent and treasure with us so we, in turn, can continue to reach out the poor among and around us.

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