Fr Vincent Busch

The Lord Of The Manger

Fr Vincent Busch

For the past ten years I have been working in a livelihood project with a group of Subanen artisans. Every year we design Christmas cards that simultaneously celebrate the story of God’s Creation and the story of God’s Incarnation. This year the Subanen artisans are carefully crafting images of Jesus in the manger within five ever-expanding settings from the tiny stable in Bethlehem to the vast heart of our spiraling Galaxy. While they craft cards, I have the task of crafting a reflection – with a lot of help from St Francis – about the meaning of their cards.

Fr Vinnie Busch

St Francis is credited with instituting the Christmas custom of setting up manger scenes in our homes and churches. The story goes that shortly before Christmas 1223 Francis encouraged the people of Greccio to reconstruct a manger scene in a cave near their town. He explained to the people: ‘If you want to celebrate the Feast of the Lord at Greccio, hurry and diligently prepare what I tell you. For I wish to recall to memory the little child who was born in Bethlehem. I want to set before our bodily eyes the hardship of his infant needs’. The manger scene touched the hearts of the people of Greccio and it continues to touch our hearts today.

Francis’ words make it clear that he never intended the manger scene to be a cute and cozy recollection of Christmas. Instead, he wanted to stress the ‘hardships’ facing Jesus.

Nidia, a woman who planted trees

By Fr. Vincent Busch

On the island of Mindanao where I live I see signs all around me of how our generous and renewable planet is dying. Mindanao’s top soil is eroded, its forest stripped, its mangrove swamps uprooted and its rivers and seas are polluted. The people who suffer most from this ecological mess are those whose lives depend directly on the health of their habitat. I see the consequences so clearly in the town of Plaridel where the people of Barrio Danao go hungry in the wake of the destruction of their mangrove forest.

Good Samaritans To The Wounded Land

By: Fr. Vincent Busch, MSSC

Robbers Strike. So?

A lawyer, seeking to inherit eternal like Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” In answer, Jesus told the story in which a priest and a Levite, respected religious authorities in the Jewish community, passed by a wounded man left by robbers to die in the side if the road. A Samaritan, a foreigner disdained by the Jewish community took compassion on the wounded man and nursed him to health. Jesus ends the story with the question: “Which of these three proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”