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Pope shares tender legend of the “poorest shepherd” at Christmas Mass

AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Kathleen N. Hattrup - Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz - published on 12/25/19

He could not keep for himself the Gift of gifts

During his Christmas Eve homily, Pope Francis shared a beautiful — and meaningful — legend about the poorest shepherd who arrived in Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth.

With the story, the Holy Father emphasized that for those of us who feel that our hands are most empty, and our hearts most poor in love, this night is “ours.”

The grace of God has appeared, to shine forth in your life. Accept it and the light of Christmas will shine forth in you.

Here is the story, and read the pope’s full homily here.

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A charming legend relates that at the birth of Jesus the shepherds hurried to the stable with different gifts. Each brought what he had; some brought the fruits of their labour, others some precious item.

But as they were all presenting their gifts, there was one shepherd who had nothing to give. He was extremely poor; he had no gift to present. As the others were competing to offer their gifts, he stood apart, embarrassed.

At a certain point, Saint Joseph and Our Lady found it hard to receive all those gifts, especially Mary, who had to hold the baby. Seeing that shepherd with empty hands, she asked him to draw near. And she put the baby Jesus in his arms. That shepherd, in accepting him, became aware of having received what he did not deserve, of holding in his arms the greatest gift of all time.

He looked at his hands, those hands that seemed to him always empty; they had become the cradle of God. He felt himself loved and, overcoming his embarrassment, began to show Jesus to the others, for he could not keep for himself the gift of gifts.




Read more:
Pope contemplates Baby Jesus’ little smile

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Pope Francis
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