Thursday of 2nd Week of Advent A--Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mary—The Mother of God and The Mother of the Human Race

Joke: A wife complains to her husband, “From the day I married you till now, I haven’t received anything from you!” The husband protests, “It’s not true! You are received to be my wife, to be my parents’ daughter-in-law, to be a mother to all my children …” An elderly man observes the conversation happily supports the husband saying, “What you just said is true. Men are the ones who lost after marriage!” The couple then asks the elderly man, “What have you lost?” “Loosing sleep,” he replied.

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary appeared to San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. The Gospel was chosen for today’s celebration focused on Mary, the one who conceived and bore the Son of God in her womb by the Power of the Holy Spirit. What is it special about Mary? What is it to do with us?

In today’s Gospel, Saint Luke begins with the scene of Mary hurries in haste to go to visit her cousin Elizabeth after she is announced by the angel Gabriel that her cousin has been pregnant for 6 months. In this visitation, there are several thoughts for us to meditate in this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In these thoughts, two I would like to share.

First, Mary must have a deep and an intimate relationship with the Lord in order to hear and to respond to the angel’s message simply because her message is a frightened message. Mary has no relation with man, but she’s found pregnant. However, with deep faith total trust in the Lord, Mary says “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” just one verse before today’s Gospel reading. The fact of having no relation with man and yet conceiving and bearing a son is against the natural law which is woman, in order to be naturally pregnant; she has to have relation with man. I’m not talking implantation with technology nowadays. Yet, the Lord in his power looks upon Mary and chooses her to conceive a Son. This is saying that we ought to accept the fact that we are human beings that many times in our lives things happened that we cannot understand neither explain with our knowledge and understanding but believe that God involves in the situation. Nothing what we called “co-incident” or “it’s just happened for no reason”. Everything happens in our lives, somehow God’s mysterious hands are behind it. We just need to acknowledge and let him controls us or not. It will depend on the free will that He installs in us the moment that we are conceived in our mother’s womb.

Finally, Mary’s greeting to Elizabeth is not only to bring Jesus, the Savior, to Elizabeth alone, but also to her unborn son, John the Baptist still in her womb for six months already. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the son in her womb leapt for joy. The joy of both the mother and the unborn son is overwhelmed by the visitation of the Mother of the Lord, Elizabeth shouted out, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The image of the womb and the six months pregnant that Elizabeth is portrayed describes the earth and the time that each one of us is living in now. Scripture does not tell us what the condition of Elizabeth is before the visitation of Mary, but I would imagine that it’s not easy and fun that mothers can testify for it. All the aches, pain, moods changed, gaining weight, losing sleep and shorted breath, you name it that mothers experience during the pregnancy. So, Elizabeth would experience the same. In fact, Scripture tells us that at the visitation of Mary, both Elizabeth and the six months unborn baby John filled with joy. Just as in the womb with a web of organs that the unborn baby has no choice but attached to the mother’s umbilical cord, we are living in this world with a web of all kinds of attractions, good and bad that sometimes we have no control of. But just as Elizabeth allows Mary to bring Jesus into her pregnancy, let’s us invite Mary to bring Jesus into our mother’s womb which is our house, our school, our Church, our society, our world, and even our own temple of the Holy Spirit, our body, which might be wired with a web of jealousy and envy, cheating and lying, unkind and hatred, violence and killing and many more that we are all in this mother’s womb. The umbilical cord that can nurture us, can keep us alive is the Eucharist, the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ each time we partake in the Eucharistic Celebration. The question is: Do we allow ourselves, surrender ourselves to let the Lord feed us and nurture us through the teaching of the Church just as the umbilical cord that transfers the food from the mother to the unborn baby in her womb?

What have we learned from the visitation of Mary on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Just as Mary brings Jesus, who is the Source of life, to Elizabeth, what have we brought to others when we pay a visit to them either our loved ones, our friends, our coworkers, or anyone who comes into contact with us? Just as Mary comes to visit Elizabeth during her pregnancy and stays to help her till she successfully finished her labor, have we come to visit others, especially our loved ones, only when they are healthy and sound, or when they are sick, or when they are closed to death? Mary brought joy not only to Elizabeth but to John the Baptist as well, have we opened up ourselves to allow Mary bringing her Son Jesus to us, especially when struggles, difficulties and challenges that knitted together as a web that shuts off the joy, happiness and peace that the Lord first intended from the beginning of creation? In anticipating for second Coming of the Lord and waiting for celebrating the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, what should we do to others, especially to our loved ones?

 

Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen


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