December 9, 2015

Juan Diego

December 9, 2015

St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
Wednesday, 2nd week, Advent

How many connections with today can you find?
(I inadvertently threw in a monkey wrench)
Legend below
1st reading

Pope Francis
Audience:  The Church needs a Jubilee of Mercy to offer her special contribution and make visible signs of God's presence and closeness.  Turning to our merciful Father and to the needy helps us focus on the essential content of the Gospel:  Jesus Christ, Mercy made flesh.  To celebrate a Jubilee of Mercy is putting our faith’s distinctive features back at the center of our lives and our communities.  The Jubilee will be a favorable time for the Church if we choose what God likes most without thinking something else is more important.  Nothing is more important than choosing God's mercy!  The renewal happening in Church institutions and structures is a life-giving experience that can guarantee the Church will continue as a city on a mountain that can't be hidden.
The call to mercy is more urgent today when forgiveness is rare.  Mercy can help build a more human world and has a fundamental role in society, institutions, at work, in the family.  Today mercy and forgiveness often appear overwhelmed by self-interest, hedonism, and corruptness, while in Christians hypocrisy and worldliness can stifle them.  Forgetting God’s mercy blinds us to seeing sin for what it is.  May each of us become more aware of God’s mercy in our lives; may we become more effective in testifying to its transforming power.
Angelus:  Two things are necessary to fully celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception:  to welcome God and his merciful grace into our life; and to become workers of mercy through an evangelical journey.  In imitation of Mary, we're called to be ‘bearers of Christ’ and witnesses of His love, especially towards those most in need.  Today's feast has a specific message:  everything is a gift; everything is mercy.  Mary helps us rediscover divine mercy as the distinctive mark of the Christian.  Mercy is the key word of the Gospel.  Don't be afraid; let ourselves be embraced by the mercy of God, who waits for us and forgives everything.
    "My yoke is easy"
  • Is 40:25-31  God is creator; he has no equal, leads and numbers the army, never grows weary, knows all, and gives strength.  They who hope in the Lord will renew their strength...
  • Ps 103:1-4, 8, 10  "O bless the Lord, my soul!"  He pardons, heals, redeems; he crowns you with compassion.  He's merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and kind; he doesn't deal with us according to our sins.
  • Mt 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I'll give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I'm meek and humble.  My yoke is easy, my burden light.”

    • Creighton:  Isaiah refers to the stars as if they were God's army, the “hosts” we refer to in the “Holy, holy, holy.”  He asks why God ignores Israel's plight, then responds that the Lord will share that power with “those who hope in the Lord.”  We see God as almighty and perhaps distant in his great works, but then Isaiah reassures Israel that his strength is available.  Jesus calls us to take his yoke upon our shoulders, a sign of submission, acceptance of vulnerability, surrender to God, readiness to belong to him and learn, childlike dependence and willingness to let God love us by forming us.   Where do I need to surrender, to change my ways, to learn to depend on God?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Resting with the yoke on":  God assures us we won't grow weary when we do his will; he gives us strength as we bear the burden we're meant to bear, his yoke.  Jesus came to replace the yoke of our sins with his yoke/burden, sharing it with us, doing most of the work, and calling our burden his.  We find rest in coming to Jesus, who's beside us in the other loop of the yoke. We can't distance ourselves from him physically, since he's yoked next to us, though we can still be far from him.  Come to Jesus with humility, gratitude, and full attention.  If we regard Jesus' yoke as a cross to bear and say, "What a burden!", we might be following Jesus but complaining and grumbling like the Israelites in the desert, but if we come to him, accept his help, and go where he leads, we'll find rest.
      Juan Diego/ Cabrera
    • Passionist:  Isaiah describes God’s work of delivering Israel as making a highway through a transformed, beautiful desert.  We've set out to celebrate the unfolding of our salvation in a season of distractions but cushioned with beautiful readings and music.  Isaiah tries to convince Israel their road will be smooth.  We have worries, doubts, weariness, and temptations like Israel did but want to savor the gifts being given to us, our salvation and God’s love.  The one we seek "gives strength to the fainting and vigor to the weak. Though youths faint, grow weary, stagger, and fall, they that hope in the Lord renew their strength, soar as with eagles’ wings, run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint."  May we come to him and be refreshed...
    •  "Come to me and I'll give you rest":  The Jewish people used the image of a yoke to express submission to God:  yoke of the law, the commandments, the kingdom, God.  Jesus says his yoke is 'easy'; the Greek also means 'well-fitting.'  Yokes were tailor-made to fit.  Oxen were yoked two by two. Jesus invites me to be yoked with him, as oxen were yoked in pairs:  our will and heart with his.  No burden is too heavy when given and carried in love. When we yoke our lives with Jesus, he carries our burdens and gives us his strength....
    • Universalis:  St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin [pronunciation], baptized as an adult, saw Our Lady of Guadalupe and asked the bishop to have a church built there.  Humble and fervent, he devoted himself to the care of the sanctuary and reception of pilgrims; see Wikipedia.
    Bonus  check out an Archdiocese of Los Angeles Year of Mercy resource as it's being developed!
    Dress legend
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Lift up your eyes and see the Creator (1st reading)
    • 'Abacus' tie pin:  He numbers the army (1st reading)
    • Oops; I packed the wrong tie 'Birds' tie:  Make whatever connections you like with this one, but I meant to wear my 'birds' tie for "Those who wait on the Lord will soar with eagles' wings;..." (1st reading)
    • 'Runner' tie pin:  "...They'll run and not grow weary" (1st reading)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  I'm meek and humble of heart (gospel)
    • White shirt:  St. Juan Diego
    • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

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