Pope Francis reminds us again and again that we bring the Word to life each and every day in the way we reach out to others with the love and mercy of God, the way we bring the light of Christ to a world too often shrouded in clouds and darkness, and the way we show to others a face that mirrors the face of God.
-from The Joy of Advent
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "
Saint Juan Diego
Saint of the Day for December 9 (1474 – May 30, 1548)
Saint Juan Diego's Story
Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for the canonization of Juan Diego, to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in the 16th century. Pope John Paul II celebrated the ceremony at which the poor Indian peasant became the Church's first saint indigenous to the Americas.
The Holy Father called the new saint "a simple, humble Indian" who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. "In praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the Church and the pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through," John Paul said. Among the thousands present for the event were members of Mexico's 64 indigenous groups.
First called Cuauhtlatohuac ("The eagle who speaks"), Juan Diego's name is forever linked with Our Lady of Guadalupe because it was to him that she first appeared at Tepeyac hill on December 9, 1531. The most famous part of his story is told in connection with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. After the roses gathered in his tilma were transformed into the miraculous image of Our Lady, however, little more is said about Juan Diego.
In time he lived near the shrine constructed at Tepeyac, revered as a holy, unselfish. and compassionate catechist who taught by word and especially by example.
During his 1990 pastoral visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II confirmed the long-standing liturgical cult in honor of Juan Diego, beatifying him. Twelve years later he was proclaimed a saint. Reflection
God counted on Juan Diego to play a humble, yet huge role in bringing the Good News to the peoples of Mexico. Overcoming his own fear and the doubts of Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, Juan Diego cooperated with God's grace in showing his people that the Good News of Jesus is for everyone. Pope John Paul II used the occasion of this beatification to urge Mexican laymen and laywomen to assume their responsibilities for passing on the Good News and witnessing to it.
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea; Your descendants would be like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, Their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Lord will come; go out to meet him! He is the prince of peace. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 11:16-19
Jesus said to the crowds: "To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by her works."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The Lord had always wanted to shower his people with favours and with gifts. But often when the offer was made (through the mouth of his messengers, the prophets), the peoples turned their backs. In fact even as Jesus would have been preparing to begin his public ministry, this was still happening - they refused the message of John the Baptist. So it was no surprise that Jesus himself began to meet opposition.
▪ What was on offer from the Lord had always been happiness deep as a river in spate, children and descendants without number. But what the people chose to do was sulk – to Jesus, their objection was the company that he ate and drank with; to John, their objection had been that he neither ate nor drank, but fasted.
▪ Jesus has arrived offering the gift of new life in abundance – but we all often remain choosy about the packaging in which his message is showcased (too 'churchy' – or too worldly)…if only we took to prayer, we might find our hearts becoming more open.
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words. You can see into my heart. You know my desires and you know my needs. I place myself into your hands. Conclusion
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Optional Memorial)
I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good. (Isaiah 48:17)
Imagine getting instruction from Bill Gates on computers, Serena Williams on tennis, or Gordon Ramsay on cooking. It would be spectacular, wouldn't it? Well, you have something even better: almighty God, the One who is greater than all of the experts, has promised to teach you, not only about your hobbies, but about the best way to live. You have the One who is all-knowing and the source of all truth as your very own tutor!
If God is your teacher, then Scripture is the first and best textbook he uses. This book is a compendium of his wisdom, knowledge, and laws. It is a literary expression of faith lived out. And it is a testament of a restored relationship with him through the cross. In every aspect of faith and morals, it is never wrong. What's more, because it's inspired by the Holy Spirit, Scripture is a living word that God uses to speak directly and personally to our hearts.
So read it. Stop when you feel your heart stirring with hope or longing. Stop when a question forms in your mind, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the answer. Let the teachings of the Church guide you when you are confused. Pay attention to thoughts that form as you read; they may be coming from the Lord. When something seems too good to be true, reread it—hundreds of times, if necessary, until you are convinced of God's goodness. Believe that God can spark understanding and direction for your life through a single verse.
Advent is the perfect time for going deeper, further, and maybe even further afield, with the Lord. It can be a time to learn, to experience the fruit that develops when you spend time meditating on the words of your Teacher. It can be a time to experience a little more of the life Jesus was born to give you.
God is ready and waiting to teach you. He is ready to clear away the guilt and fear that hinder you. So come to him, and receive his expert instruction!
"Father, help me to know your ways, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me today."
The Lord said today "If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river...". If only. The website I'm working on is called Unless.Life. It is a representative vehicle, representing what we are on this earth...the Church "militant". The Church on the go. The Church hearkening that is ready to hark the Good News.
We prayed today "Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life", those who choose this Way, hearken to Him and His Way, HIS commandments, those that are not of this world!
The Lord comes in our lives today ""To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.'" It is the TRUTH. It is the story of our lives. God calls, and our answers to the call is what affects our lives. I am calling you as a child of God, and others call on me as children of God, and so, how do we reply?
Let's look at the great scheme of things: I see hundreds that do not go to Church. I see hundreds that go to church and are not being Church. I see hundred of offerings, and they are found lacking (wanting) as said in scripture. I see one goes and is not affected, unmoved. The Holy Spirit does not make them sing or dance or pray.
Now, let's go a step further. Let's go deeper into that inner child. How are you? Many ask this and you say "good". But you know you are not good. I see people smile, and the next week, they commit suicide. And these holidays are good for that. Be on high alert. If someone smiles, don't just smile back, take an extra step, and ask them how they are REALLY doing. If someone is slacking in faith, take an extra step in faith, reach out to them. I'm saying this because my 8 year old I think 9 LOL, he was sitting on the drum set during Mass last night, and another little boy was sitting next to him fast asleep during Mass. I was watching (instead of listening to the Homily), my boy was poking the sleepy boy with a drum stick trying to get his attention, to wake him up. He wouldn't budge. I thought "I don't think I would wake him up, but I like that he is trying". Then he tried again, this time beating more on his jacket, with a little more persistence. My boy didn't know I was watching. The sleepy boy would not budge, just sat asleep, or so it seemed. I thought "surely my boy will give up, just like I would and say "oh I tried already and quit". But no. His persistence was more, and I admired that. I did not make him stop. Something inside me said "I would rather him be annoyed than to lose his soul when he grows up", but something bothered me about me that said "I don't care, let him lye there..." as if in a damning attitude saying "that's not my fault". Pontious Pilate of neutrality. Gross. I don't like that little part about me that is in the world. My boy stood, leaned over and shook him up, and the sleepy head woke up, and instead of being mad was Ok, and I smiled. When Mass ended, I asked a loved one, "where is so and so?" At home. I said, do you want me to chew them out for missing Mass? 'No' they said. I was going to poke like my little boy, and I didn't. I washed my hands again, now laying the fault on my loved one if they didn't poke.
Pop Quiz: Who are you in this story of the boy waking up the sleepy head?
A.) The sleepy head in Church. B.) The boy that is persistent until something happens C.) Like the narrator (Adrian) who is perplexed and doesn't do much. D.) All of the above
The best answer would be the little boy. Like my mom, who is rather annoying when she comes around always talking about God and making us pray, and insistent on faith matters. I grudgedly wake up and do my duty. But what about love? Here Comes Love in Christ'sMASS