Tuesday, 12 December 2017 : 2nd Week of Advent, Memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a very popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who appeared approximately five hundred years ago in the area that is now Mexico, at the site where now a great Basilica built in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe now stands. Today let us reflect on the many wonders which we mankind have received through her intercession.

At that time, during the early years of Spanish America, Our Lady chose to appear to a local native, St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, whose feast day we celebrated just a few days ago. At that time, she made her appearance on a hill known as the Tepeyac hill to St. John Diego, who then related her apparition and message to the local bishop. The local bishop was skeptical of St. John Diego’s account and wanted a proof of her authentic apparition.

Therefore, as Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared again to St. John Diego, she asked him to gather some flowers from the spot she pointed out on the hill, which were miraculous, as those flowers, Castilian flowers, were not existent at that part of the world. St. John Diego gathered the flowers in the cloak that he was wearing, called a tilma, and brought the flowers as a sign and proof to the bishop.

When St. John Diego came to the bishop and presented the miraculous flowers to him, what amazed the bishop much more and to his great surprise was that the very image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted on the tilma or cloak that St. John Diego was wearing. Many people came to believe in this miracle and apparition, and came to greater devotion to God through His mother, who appeared as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Pope eventually recognised this apparition as authentic, and great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe had continued ever since.

Today, as we recall this great apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Guadalupe, we should take note how Mary appeared many times to many different people, at Guadalupe, at Lourdes, at Fatima, and at many other places as deemed authentic by the Holy See. And all these apparitions were in fact ways through which Mary, the great Mother of God, is still ever active trying to bring us all, her adopted children, towards reconciliation and salvation in her Son, Our God.

For Mary has a special role in our salvation, and the Church has recognised her as the co-Redemptrix of mankind. It was not that she by her own power has saved mankind, but rather, it was through her that God made His salvation to be able to reach out to us. Her obedience and willingness to be part of God’s plan of salvation for us mankind has brought forth the Saviour into this world, just as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah.

Our Lord Himself has also entrusted all of us mankind to her, symbolically represented as He entrusted St. John the Evangelist to her, and at the same time entrusting her to his care. Through this, all of us have been made to be her children, as Jesus her Son, is also our Brother. As she has now been assumed to Heaven, to sit at the side of her Son, she is the greatest of all our intercessors, constantly praying for our sake. And this is also why she frequently appeared to us, appealing for us to repent from our sins and change our lives.

She loves each and every one of us mankind, just as she loved her Son Jesus with all of her loving heart. Every man and woman who died with sins unforgiven and unrepentant are in danger of eternal damnation, and is sorrowful for her. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that she was with her Son throughout His Passion, as He walked the path to Calvary, bearing the heavy burden of the cross and our sins. Just as she was sorrowful because of the suffering endured by her Son, she is also sorrowful for all the souls who will endure eternal damnation and suffering because of their sins.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate and rejoice in the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe today, let us also then remember to reflect about our own lives and actions. Have we been truly faithful to God in all of our actions? Or have we rather allowed ourselves to fall into sin, and forgetting God and all of His love for us? Many of us have lapsed from our faith, and have not been active in practicing our faith in God, and we have allowed ourselves to be busy with worldly matters and forgetting about God.

In this season of Advent, during this time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas therefore, we need to prepare ourselves, our hearts and minds, our bodies and our souls, our whole beings, to be able to celebrate Christmas worthily and understand better its importance for our salvation. Christmas is the celebration of Our Lord’s birth and entry into this world, as the Light of the world that dawned and pierced through the darkness of this world.

And as the Church teaches us, the best way to reach out to the Lord, Our Light, is through His Mother, Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who constantly appeared to mankind, in order to guide us all to her Son. It is imperative therefore, that we make whatever opportunity that we have been given, this very life, to reach out to the Lord, and humbly seeks His mercy and forgiveness for our sins, that we may come to be worthy of His eternal glory.

We should follow the examples of our holy and devout predecessors, the saints, in the examples of their lives. And there is no greater example than Mary herself, whose obedience and adherence to God’s will, whose commitment of love for her Son, Our Lord, made it possible for salvation to come to us from God. We are all now called to follow in her footsteps, that she may lead us all down the path towards salvation and eternal life.

May the Lord continue to bless each and every one of us, and may His blessed mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe continue to intercede for us sinners still living in this world. May all of us strive to be ever more committed to serve the Lord in all of our ways, and repent from our sins, that we may draw ever closer to God and His grace, and be worthy of the glory of eternal life. O Blessed Mother of God, Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. Amen.

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