UP Catholic 12 23 2016 E Edition Page 1

The Catholic U.P . EVANGELIZATION EDUCATION INFORMATION $2.00 20 Pages December 23, 2016 Vol. 45 No. 18 THE NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF MARQUETTE Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, As an expression of our devotion to Jesus, born in a stable in Bethlehem, we adorn our churches and our homes with a nativity scene. St. Francis of As- sisi developed and helped to spread this devotion. Customarily, the scene includes an ox and an ass. Yet the ox and ass are not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of our Lords birth. Are they in the scene only because Jesus was born in a stable? In a collection of his reflections on Christmas, Pope Benedict points us to a passage in the book of the prophet Isaiah for the answer: The ox knows its owner and the ass its masters crib; but Israel does not know. My people does not understand. (Isaiah 1:3) The ox and the ass are here in the nativity scene because they symbolize the call to recognize Jesus and to see him in our daily life. The people were like an ox and an ass, animals without knowledge and unable to perceive the presence of God. How- ever, the birth of Jesus opened their eyes. Now they know the Lord (cf. The Blessing of Christmas, 80-81). Let each of us ask ourselves a question. Do I know and recognize the presence of Jesus in my daily life? Have my eyes been opened to know Jesus? Do I have a personal relationship with him? In order to recognize Jesus, we need to have regular contact with him. Without that regular contact, we probably will not recognize him. For example, I have over 50 cousins who are scattered across the United States. Most of them I have not seen in many years, and I am certain that I would not recognize them. If we do not have contact with people, over the years it may get to the point that we do not recognize them. Similarly, if we do not have contact with the Lord especially at Mass will we recognize his presence in our daily life? Jesus came to this earth and was born of the Virgin Mary to dwell among us. God longs to be present to his people. If you have not attended Mass for a while, why not make a good confession and come back this Christmas? Jesus longs to come into your heart in a new and powerful way. He wants a personal relationship with you. He wants you to know him. May you and all your loved ones know Jesus and have a blessed and joyful Christmas. Sincerely in Christ, +John F. Doerfler Bishop of Marquette COURTESY PHOTO A nativity scene is displayed at Holy Family Parish in Flat Rock during last year's Christmas season. Recognizing Jesus in daily life P8-10 OFFICIAL APPOINTMENTS: Clergy changes effective in 2017 P3 P11-13

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