Australian Catholic evangelist Robert Haddad says that three main points divide Catholics and Protestants: the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pope, and the Eucharist/Mass.
It occurred to me that all three issues hinge on the role love of neighbor plays in Christian salvation:
1.) The Blessed Virgin Mary: love of our most eminent neighbor in Heaven
2.) The Pope: love of our most eminent neighbor on earth
3.) The Eucharist and the Mass: love of Christ Our Neighbor still really present among us in the Blessed Sacrament
As I write this, it’s still the Octave of Christmas where I live. I have a Christmas story to share, one that spans several generations of a family. It’s a story about a Nativity set.
My family was friends with an elderly Catholic lady who passed away a few years ago. My mother drove this lady to Mass every weekend. She had two daughters, one who remained Catholic and one who became a Jehovah’s Witness. The Jehovah’s Witnesses famously reject Christmas as a pagan invention. The JW daughter had a daughter and a son, who was my best friend in high school.
On Christmas Day this year, I attended Mass at my home parish. The priest celebrant was a native son of the parish who was visiting home. He mentioned how happy he was to see the parish’s Nativity scene again. After Mass I saw the daughter of our deceased family friend, the daughter who remained Catholic. I asked her what became of her mother’s Nativity set, which occupied half a room when set up. And I am very happy I asked. Continue reading