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Thursday, December 11, 1997

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Pope St. Damasus I

Isaiah 41:13-20
Psalm 145
Matthew 11:11-15

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christ-mas or x-mas?

"Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you." —Isaiah 41:14

Of ourselves, we are worms and maggots, lambs and sheep (see Jn 21:15-17). In other words, we are pitiful, stupid, and helpless. Without Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).

However, with Jesus, we are threshing sledges powerful enough to thresh mountains (Is 41:15). In Jesus' kingdom, we are greater than John the Baptizer, Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Judith, Deborah, etc. (Mt 11:11)

Doing our own thing, immersed into our own selves, we are pitiful. Living in and for Jesus, we are glorious. Jesus makes all the difference. " 'Life' means Christ" (Phil 1:21).

Christmas means Christ. If we deepen or begin our personal relationship with Jesus, this Christmas will be so wonderful that it will have international and everlasting significance for God's kingdom. If we miss the Christ of Christmas, this Christmas will be a tragic, missed opportunity — a stupid, vain attempt to deny reality or a hypocritical, degrading self-deception. Is it going to be Christ-mas or X-mas?

Prayer:  Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All! (see Jn 20:28)

Promise:  "I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine, that all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this." —Is 41:19- 20

Praise:  Pope Damasus spent much time draining and cleaning the Roman catacombs, where the first Roman Christians worshipped Jesus. He wanted the Church to be strengthened by the memories of the martyrs of the past.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997