Friday, 9 December 2016 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Saints)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Scriptures the contradictions from the ways of the Lord and the expectations of this world, as the Psalm we sung today show how different is the path of the wicked from the path of the just and the righteous. It is a reminder for us that as Christians, many of us should wake up to the reality that not all of the ways of our faith are acceptable and easily welcomed by the standards of this world.

But many of us often live our lives oblivious to this fact, and often it is because we are not living our faith in the manner it should be done. We are often lukewarm in our faith, and we are not practicing what we believe, but rather we follow the norms of this world, even though some of these ways and norms may be contrary to what we believe in our Christian faith.

It is a question that we should ask ourselves in this time of Advent, as we come to prepare for our celebration of Christmas. Are we living our lives in this world out of routine and just trying to do what this world is expecting us? Are we just following the motions and follow what this world has shown us? Have we ever stood up for our faith in the Lord and dared to be different by living our faith genuinely, even when others around us disapprove, ridiculed us and even rejected us?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to challenge ourselves in how we live our lives in faith. We cannot be lukewarm and ignorant any longer, for those who have professed to believe in the Lord and yet their actions showed otherwise, these will be found wanting by the Lord, as those whose faith are not living, but dead, for faith without good works, as St. James said in his Epistle, is as good as dead.

Perhaps, we should follow the example of the holy man whose feast we are celebrating today. St. John Diego or St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin was one of the first saints of the Americas, then known as the New World. He was one of the first natives of the New World to convert to the faith, after it was brought there by courageous missionaries who delivered the word of God and His Good News to those people still living in the darkness and ignorance of God.

Through his newfound faith in God, he was inspired to live an upright and honest life in accordance with God’s ways, and he was devoted to good works and charity, caring especially for his sick uncle with devotion. And it was told that this upright and devout man received a vision and apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of God, what is now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.

St. John Diego received the apparition of Mary at a hill known as Tepeyac, where now the great Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located at. He saw the Blessed Virgin clothed in the traditional cloth of the natives known as the tilma, and then related the experience to his local bishop. The bishop doubted this vision, and he did not believe at first that Mary had appeared to him.

For several times the apparition appeared again and again to St. John Diego as he went about carrying out his works among the poor as a lay member of the Franciscan religious order. And eventually the bishop asked for a sign that this vision is truly an authentic and trustworthy one. The Blessed Virgin appeared to St. John Diego with an instruction to go to the hill of Tepeyac, and there he found many white flowers that are not usually found in that region.

St. John Diego gathered the flowers in his own cloak or tilma and hurried back to the bishop to show him the flowers he had gathered. However, what surprised the bishop most was not the flowers, but rather what he saw was printed inside the tilma of St. John Diego, which is none other than the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe herself.

And ever since then, many people were saved because of the inspiration of St. John Diego, through the vision of the miraculous cloak or the tilma upon which the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is printed, which is now enshrined in the great Basilica, and through the messages that Our Lady passed on to St. John Diego, which he disseminated among the faithful.

From his example, we should be inspired by his dedication to the Lord, his upright and just ways, and despite the opposition and ridicule from others, in this case, from his own bishop and from his relatives, he nevertheless continued to persevere on nonetheless, and as a result, brought many others to salvation and liberation from sin.

May all of us be able to follow in his footsteps and be good and devoted disciples of the Lord ourselves. May He bless us and strengthen our faith, so that in all the things we say and do, we will always bring glory to Him and to His Name. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us all sinners. Amen.

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