In the windows in many homes the Christmas star of Bethlehem will be companioned by the gold star of the service flag. Side by side will appear the reminders of peace and war, of life and death.
In a confused world men look for some blueprint that they might get started aright again, for some beam to set them back on their course, for some star with which to set their compass of life.
Today is a well-nigh Christmas again, the day on which was born the Prince of Peace. But, alas, the world knows no peace. It is is confused beyond measure with threats of war, cold war, and class warfare.
Today the Church announces again the glad tidings of joy. In so doing, she acts not like a fool, who says, "All is well, all is well," when beneath there is a raging torrent of hatred and evil. No! The Church alone of all the institutions of our day is able to speak of peace, because she alone is the ambassador of the Prince of Peace. She bears His unchanging credentials.
The Church has experienced her Good Friday. Like a man who has survived a dreaded disease and, having once gone down to the valley of suffering, has built up a resistance to the germ, the Church in even a more salutary way than this has suffered her defeats in a persecution and crucifixion and she will divinely survive all the hatreds of the world which breed wars and global holocausts.
Hence, only a divinely inspired institution like the Church of God can talk of peace in a world at war. What assurance can men give of sustained harmony among nations? Built upon the fallible word of man, treaties melt away like snowflakes once they fall upon the anvil fire of human perversity. Only upon the infallible truths of God revealed through His Church can we safely rest our future security. As a man's word with a woman in holy wedlock can be respected only when welded through God's sacrament, so the bonded word of nations wedded in treaties of peace can be lasting value only when rested upon the infallible truth of God and cemented through the Church's dispensation.
Men are confused as they talk of peace and continue plans of war, but the Church is calm. God's justice and peace must eventually reign. Hence the Church can speak of Christmas stars over Bethlehem and gold stars in our American homes at one and the same time without confusion. The Church can speak of resurrection even though it be Good Friday, for the Church is not of this world. Even while the world seems to be slipping from beneath her feet can she speak of Christ and God and peace eternal. The world shall pass away, but not so the eternal Mystical Spouse of Christ, not so all those members of that Mystical Body that share its life. To all mothers who bear in their hearts the old star of a son's sacrifice the Church speaks of another Mother who brought life to the world beneath Bethlehem's starry skies, of another Mother who gave life and saw it die in crucifixion and then rise again in glory. So shall it be with all life that suffers defeat - if incorporated with the life of Christ, it shall rise again! The stars that were blue in loyalty and have now turned gold in undying death bear hope to mothers' hearts when viewed in the light of the heavens and Bethlehem's star. Not confusion here, but order and peace of soul is the reward for all those who find their way to the crib and the feet of Christ.
Babe of Bethlehem, guard us against the confused error of the world mistaking earthly possession for heavenly reward. Guide our lives by Your star. Surrounded by temptation, circumvented by worldliness, teach us to ordain all things to our eternal end - glory to God, peace to mean of good will.