Friday, December 6, 2013

(Optional) Memorial of Saint Nicholas, bishop

(Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31)

One way to corroborate the affirmative answer in the classic editorial “Is there a Santa Claus?” is to refer to St. Nicholas whose feast is celebrated today.  St. Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop legendary for his generosity.  His name was transformed over the centuries to its rendering in Dutch, Santa Claus.  However, the Scripture readings today hint of a better way to think of Santa.

In the first reading Isaiah tells of the day that the blind shall see the work of God in their midst. It will be a time of complete justice when the good will be rewarded and the evil duly punished.  The gospel indicates the fulfilment of the prophecy in Jesus who restores sight to two blind men.  The Lord Jesus may be considered the original referent for Santa Claus.  He brings people what they most deeply want -- light to find their way to salvation.

One of the “O” antiphons sung at the end of Advent recognizes Jesus as the “Morning Star.”  That star is, of course, the rising sun which provides clear light for people to live.  Jesus enlightens our way not just to thrive in daily affairs but to blossom fully in eternity.