A House Built on Sand?

The Holy Family is seen in a Nativity scene made of sand in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 10. The Italian resort town of Jesolo donated a 52-foot wide Nativity scene made entirely of highly compressed sand to the Vatican. The sculpture was unveiled during the Vatican’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Dec. 7. (Photo: Catholic News Service/Paul Haring)

Each year in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City-State, a nativity scene is erected and each year, the scene is memorable. Last year’s scene was based on the corporal works of mercy and certainly had its share of supporters and detractors. This year, a sculptor from Florida was commissioned to create a nativity scene in the center of St. Peter’s Square, only this time out of 720 tons of sand!

The sand came from the Italian seaside city of Jesolo, near Venice, and Varano has been directing a team of artists for several weeks in the creation of this sculpture.

It was unveiled, as has been the custom, on the vigil of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 7, and the reports of the sculpture has been highly favorable.

After a rather tumultuous year in the Church, it may seem odd that the Vatican would choose to have the nativity scene made of sand. It may seem that the foundations of our Church have been shaken, with such rancor and discord from so many different corners of the Catholic world.

One needs only to look to the Catholic dialogue on Twitter to see such vitriolic comments that might cause one to wonder where the Holy Spirit is in all this and where even simple Christian charity is in all of this. It can seem that the Church is on shifting sands, one without any sure foundation, ready to be blow over.

But fear not, we as the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, has a master builder, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will not let his Bride, the Church, fall. We have a firm foundation- Christ, who himself is the cornerstone. Saint Paul reminds us in the third chapter of First Corinthians:

“For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire [itself] will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage.”

Christ our Lord is the cornerstone. The Church is being battered and blown and the winds seem to be pushing us off course. Trust in the Captain of the Barque of Peter who is the Lord. We are not built on sand, but on solid rock.

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