Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the Lord who is our Shepherd and Guide. We heard about how the Lord loves us so much, that He uses all in His power to look for us and search for us, His lost sheep, who had wandered into the darkness of this world. He wants us not to die, but to live with Him forever in glory, and to receive the joyous inheritance which He had intended for us from the beginning of time.
Yes, we mankind were not meant to suffer terribly in this world and to suffer the ignominy and pain of death, but we have sinned and therefore, those sufferings and death became a part of us, as the punishments for our sins. Yet, the Lord our loving God and Father desires that all of us be freed from this punishment, by the turning of our hearts and bodies away from all those sins and back into the embrace of the Lord.
He does not want us to be lost anymore, and He desires for us to be found and to be safeguarded through His Son, Jesus Christ, who came into this world as one of us, to suffer pain and death, which are the just punishments for the sins we commit, bearing all of them upon Himself, so that we who believe in Him, will no longer suffer those consequences, but through our faith in Him, we may be brought to our everlasting joy in Christ.
The first reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah was from the prophecies of Isaiah the prophet, who lived during the latter years of the southern kingdom of Judah, hundreds of years after the division of the original kingdom of Israel, the kingdom of David and Solomon. The people of God had been scattered since then, each finding their own way, and each following their own pagan gods, the gods of their neighbours, and forgot all about the Lord, committing all sorts of wickedness and evil.
That is why God was angry at them, for not following His ways and for walking down the path of sin. Yet, He still loves them and wants them saved. That was why He sent them many helpers and reminders, through the prophets and leaders He had made and appointed throughout time. He showed His power and love to His people, and yet, many of them were still lost in the midst of the darkness of the world.
Yes, our Lord has given us many opportunities and chances to turn our lives from one filled by sin, into one that is filled with the grace and blessings of our Lord. This Advent is a time for preparation, the preparation of our soul, our mind, our heart and our body for the eventual coming of the Lord. Advent is a time of expectation, of waiting for the glorious coming of our Lord, who will come to deliver us from this world of darkness.
What is then, our response? Are we to accept His offer of mercy and forgiveness, or are we to continue living in sin, ignoring Him and His love? It is indeed more difficult for us to do the former than the latter. It is easy to continue to live as we have lived, to embrace human desires, possessions, material goods, greed, lust and all other human emotions and the temptations of the flesh and soul, but it is difficult to live according to the ways of the Lord.
But if we give in to the world and all its temptations, then we shall be lost forever to the darkness of this world, and we will be forever lost to our Lord. Without our Lord, we are nothing, and we will end up with nothing, no matter how much we possess in this world. Instead, the way for us is to welcome Him with open hands and open mind, allowing Him to come into our lives to transform us from beings of darkness to the children of the Light.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, or also known in his original Spanish name, St. Juan Diego, the very first saint from the New World, then part of the Spanish America, in what is now Mexico. He was an Aztec, who was converted to the true Faith when the Spanish came to the New World in the early sixteenth century. After he was baptised St. John Diego lived a very pious and holy life, devoted to the Lord in all things.
He changed his ways from the ways of the old worldly things, abandoning human greed and desire, and instead, seeking the fullness of the Lord’s love and grace, devoting himself completely to the Faith he had found after having lived for a long time in the darkness of ignorance of the Lord. And for that, he was blessed to be given the opportunity to witness a great apparition of the Blessed Mother of God, Mary, who appeared to him at the place now known as the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe.
Through St. John Diego, the Blessed Mother Mary requested that a chapel be built at the site of the apparition, so that through her, many would be able to be helped in finding their way to the Lord, and therefore be saved. The bishop was skeptical at first, looking down at St. John Diego and his low background, but after the insistence of Mary and through a sign, the Blessed Mother Mary left her image as an imprint with flowers in St. John Diego’s cloak, also known as tilma in the local language, which from then on became the centre of veneration, of what is now known as our Lady of Guadalupe.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, through the example of the life and actions of St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, we can see that God has called us back to His love, and if we do so, then He can transform our lives, from a life filled with sin, into one that is filled with holiness, hope and also grace for others. St. John Diego found a new lease of life in God, and through his newfound devotion, he brought the grace of God, presented through Mary His mother, for countless souls who were then saved because of that.
In the same way therefore, we too should follow his footsteps, and walk in the ways of the Lord, courageously and fearlessly becoming His witnesses, and in that way, we will be richly rewarded with grace and blessings when He comes again. Therefore, brethren, this Advent, let us make best use of the time to prepare ourselves and to be ready. Deepen our devotion to our Lord, and also to His Blessed Mother Mary, who is our greatest ally against the darkness of the world.
Let us all embrace the Lord, our Good Shepherd, who wants us His lost sheep to return to Him and be found forever in His loving embrace. St. John Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin and our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us sinners, that we may come to realise the depth and gravity of our sins, and thus seek ways to be closer to our Lord Jesus, to be saved and to be prepared for His second coming into the world in glory. God bless us all. Amen.
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