Father Desjardins

Father Étienne Desjardins left the home of Mrs. Amadou, one of his parishioners and stepped into her garden. He had just spent over an hour with her, reading the Bible and praying the Rosary. She was one of the shut-ins. Arthritis in her knees made it difficult for her to get around as she used to. She hadn’t been able to go to church for the past few Sundays. So, he came to visit her on Sunday afternoons.

Fortunately, she didn’t live alone. Her grand-daughter, Ede moved from Porto-Novo where she lived with her parents to come to Cotonou so she could take care of her. Ede attended Hill-City University where she was studying Nursing. She was in her second year.

He didn’t know how she managed to study and take care of her grandmother at the same time. She was only twenty and had taken on such a huge responsibility. He suggested to her grandmother that she hired a housekeeper and nurse to take care of her during the week while Ede was at university. On the weekends, Ede could take care of her. Mrs. Amadou agreed.

She was sitting at the picnic table in the garden, deep in thought. He walked over to her. “Hello, Ede.”

She glanced up. “Hello, Father Desjardins.”

“May I join you?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“How are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks. Just worried about my grandmother.”

“She’s fine. It’s just the Arthritis. There are times when she’s in a lot of pain.”

“Although there’s no cure for arthritis, there are treatments which can help.”

“I know that there are 4 supplements to treat arthritis pain like Curcumin, Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids and Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Exercise also helps to ease the pain and stiffness. I have encouraged her to go for walks with me or swim a few laps in the swimming pool at the community center but there are times when she doesn’t feel up to it.”

“I guess that’s understandable.”

“She misses going to church.”

“Yes, she was very disappointed that she couldn’t attend the Christmas service this morning and the luncheon.”

“I wanted to stay home with her but she encouraged me to go and I’m happy I did. I enjoyed your sermon on God’s Greatest Gift. It’s true that Christmas cards show three wise men carrying gifts but the Bible never actually mentions how many there were. We assume that there were three of them because they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

“Yes. I guess it didn’t matter how many Magi went to see the Child Jesus what mattered was that they believed and in faith, they traveled all that way to pay homage to Him.”

“I like what you said about the angels appearing to the shepherds who were ordinary men, tending their flocks. They didn’t go to the religious leaders. And the response of the shepherds was to go immediately to Bethlehem to see the Child. And when they saw Him, they went and told others about it. The good news about a Savior who came into the world to save mankind is news that we should share with others like the shepherds did.”

“They returned to their flock, glorifying and praising God.”

“Yes, we should be glorifying and praising God for His precious Gift.”

“You mentioned how markedly different the reaction to the news of the Savior’s birth was to the shepherds’ and the Magi. King Herod and all Jerusalem were troubled. They didn’t see this as a good thing.”

“King Herod felt threatened because the Magi had called the Christ, the King of the Jews. As far as he was concerned he was the king of the Jews. Yet, three perfect strangers showed up asking for another king whom they wanted to worship. Herod saw this as a threat to his throne and perhaps the people of Jerusalem were troubled because they feared his rage and rightly so because we later discover that Herod had all boy children two years and under murdered in Bethlehem and the surrounding region.”

“I always think about those mothers who watched as Herod’s soldiers killed their innocent children.”

“Yes, unfortunately, the massacre of the innocents was in keeping with Herod’s ruthless character.”

“Herod needn’t have worried about his throne being given to another. Jesus didn’t come to be King of an earthly kingdom. As Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’.”

“His kingdom is everlasting.”

She smiled. “Yes. And He shall reign forever and ever.”

“We’re having a midnight Mass on New Year’s Eve. Will you come?”

“Yes. I’ll try to get my grandmother to come.”

“There’s a nonprofit organization called Chariots of Hope which donates wheelchairs to people in need. All wheelchairs are inspected and repaired before they are donated. You can request a wheelchair by filling out the form on their website.”

“Thanks. I will look into it.”

“I’d better be on my way.”

“Thanks for coming by, Father Desjardins.”

“I’ll stop by on Wednesday. Have a good evening, Ede.”

“You too, Father Desjardins.”

He smiled and then turned and walked away. She watched him go. She looked forward to seeing him again on Wednesday.

Sources: LifeWay; Bible Gateway; Blue Letter Bible; Catholic Culture;

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