Daily Scripture Reading and Meditation: Nothing Is Impossible with GodDecember 24, 2021
How to Respond When People Say Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters, by Kathy SchifferDecember 27, 2021
By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, Dec. 24,k 2021
Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.
All of us at The Catholic Thing – Brad Miner, Karen Popp, Hannah Russo, and I – wish all of you a very Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. – Robert Royal.
You don’t have to be a genius like Dickens to appreciate the special warmth and light of Christmas. But more and more it would help, since few of us now spend much time outdoors experiencing these days of cold and dark. And others have made Jesus – who by reliable accounts was, by turns, both compassionate and severe – into a year-round warm and fuzzy security blanket. So it takes some effort to see the special nature of the birth we will celebrate tomorrow and in coming days, which is both a comfort and a challenge.
In some ways, this is nothing new. As Benedict XVI rightly argued in Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, “The ordinariness of Jesus, the provincial carpenter, seems not to conceal a mystery of any kind. His origin marks him out as one like any other.” Generations of Scripture scholars now have labored, largely taking their start from materialist or secularist assumptions, to show that this is really the whole of the Christian story. He was born like everyone else; his life unrolled like his neighbors’; yes, he said some remarkable things – but we can find rough parallels in earlier Judaism and even other religions; the miracles are unbelievable and must be explainable as really natural human phenomena like sharing (loaves and fishes) or as merely symbolic stories (the Eucharist, above all). …