Every year we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our Savior. Every year we hang the decorations and place the figurines in our Nativity display sets. But the reality of this child’s birth, so many years ago, escapes our sensibilities. St. Luke’s version of the Nativity is often filled with singing Angels and Shepherds. But within this story can you imagine the discomfort and pain of Mary as the time was arriving and they’re still making their journey toward Bethlehem? How about the panic of Joseph who wished to “give the world” to his wife and soon to be born child? The reality of “no room at any inn” within the city limits would have pushed many of us over the edge of sanity. Yet God provided a humble start for this new family through the generosity of another within a barn for animals and a manger for a bed. During this most holy day of days, I’m grateful for the extended family with which I live; the children assisting in decorating the Christmas tree; the excitement of Christmas morning and all of Christmas Day. However I also think of the many Children in Aleppo and throughout all of Syria, the many in villages and towns of South Sudan, those in Palestine as well as all of Israel. I think of the insecurity each child must feel with the sound of gunfire, the explosions of war; the pain of seeing loved ones taken by others or killed and the paralyzing reality of daily hunger and the loss of hope for true peace and security. It is when I think of these children that the child Jesus has a chance to be born again in my heart moving me to tears of prayer and determination in taking some action to continue to welcome and assist refugees of war even here in Buffalo. I am so very grateful that through the years I’ve been privileged to have had met many children and their families from many war torn areas; new comers to Buffalo and the United States. I often feel powerless to change the world that is so far away in any significant way. But we don’t have to go out into the world far away; the whole world indeed comes to us; yes even here in Buffalo. May God bless us this Christmas to find room in the “inn” of our heart to welcome many seeking safety and refuge among us.
THANK YOU ST. LAWRENCE FAMILY AND FRIENDS for a most blessed year of ministry among our parish families. Most especially thank you for your faithfulness to Holy Mass as well as the many opportunities for prayer, and growing in knowledge of our faith. Thank you for the faithfulness to ministries that provide for our neighbors. The Food Assistance, Medical Care, welcome of the Girls from NativityMiguel among us as well as our residents in the Guest House all give witness and “enflesh” the Gospel of Jesus into real life. The providing for parish hospitality as well as “welcome desk” ministry continue to build community and are a source of real welcome among us. Thank you. Most especially thank you to our many dedicated staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make our Church life possible. God has truly blessed me with all of you…Love you all…Merry Christmas…. Fr. Ron.