Monday evening at 7:00 pm, we will celebrate our Advent
Reconciliation Service in the church. Three priests will be available for individual confessions. Please take advantage of this opportunity to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
In addition to being the third Sunday of Advent, today is the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. I have very fond memories of celebrating this feast in México, as well as in the Hispanic communities I ministered to in Arizona and Tennessee.
As I have mentioned various times, the season of Advent is a season of hope: the Savior of the world has come among us, He is with us right now through all our difficulties and He wants us to help bring about His Kingdom by the way we live our lives.
From that perspective, Guadalupe is a wonderful feast to fall in the middle of Advent. The Aztec world had been decimated by the arrival of the Spaniards, both from conflict and from new diseases that killed many people. The conquerors were trying to force their religious beliefs on the Aztecs, but without much success. The people were living without much hope, facing more armed conflict with the Spaniards. In that context, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego.
The Virgin had the complexion of a native, she spoke to Juan Diego in his native language, she wore clothes that the natives could identify with, and she said to Juan Diego, Am I not here, I who am your mother? All these things helped the Aztecs to accept Christianity as THEIR religion, not just one imposed on them by invaders; in one sense, this was the beginning of the Mexican people, as we know them today. Within a short time, an estimated 6,000,000 natives accepted Christianity.
I share this example of how, no matter how bleak things might seem, our faith tells us to trust that all will be well. Our God is in control and wants the best for us; Mary says to us, as she did to St. Juan Diego, Am I not here, I who am your mother? What more could we want?
As we continue to prepare to celebrate the coming of the Christ Child among us, may the words of St. Paul that we hear in our reading from Philippian’s reign in our hearts: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us! God bless.
Church sign of the week: people are prisoners of their phones; that is why they are called "cell" phones.