The Perspective of Justice

Tidings of Great Joy

The first people to experience the coming of the savior were shepherds, those lowly, uneducated ones who lived among the animals. They were not the only ones, of course, but they were the first to welcome the savior.

It was no accident that such lowly people would be called in first to pay homage to the savior. It is to the lowly, after all, that Christ came first as Lord and Redeemer. The circumstances of his birth testify to that: his mother “wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the place where travelers lodged.”

Christmas is the great annual renewal of our being a Church filled with wonder at the nearness of her God. The nearer we are to our God, the nearer we should become to those lowly ones who are God’s special ones.

We are challenged at Christmas to do what Jesus and the angels did: bring the good news of redemption to the outcast and the lowly. The “tidings of great joy (are) to be shared by the whole people,” and no one is to be left out, not even the most hopeless or despicable person.
Our holy Mother (the Church does) not neglect the care of the poor or omit to provide for their necessities; but, rather, drawing them to her with a mother’s embrace, and knowing that they bear the person of Christ Himself, who regards the smallest gift to the poor as a benefit conferred on Himself, holds them in great honor.

She does all she can to help them; she provides homes and hospitals where they may be received, nourished, and cared for all the world over, and watches over these.

Pope Leo XIII, Quod Apostolici Muneris,(1878:9

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson