Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Death of the Old Year

The good things about this week are that we celebrate the birth of our baby Lord and King, and that the days are beginning to get longer.

The feasts of the Church remind us, though (as Jesus did), that following Him is not all fun and games, not by a long shot.

Saturday December 26 was the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr (called Protomartyr in the Byzantine Rite).

December 27, if not a Sunday, would have been the liturgy for St. John the Evangelist who, according to tradition, was the only apostle who did not meet a violent death; but I wonder sometimes if he got a little lonely in his old age, waiting to be reunited to those he loved.

December 28 is the feast of the Holy Innocents (which ought to remind us of modern-day Herods, as Dymphna has so well put it). What is it now? -- fifty million?

December 29 is the feast of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170, by four knights of King Henry II -- Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton. And the main reason St. Thomas was murdered was that he bravely and stoutly upheld the rights of the Church against that of the royal power. (Three cheers for the bishops and priests everywhere who do the same!)

Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die . . . .

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