December 9, 2016

Juan Diego

December 9, 2016:  St. Juan Diego / Friday, 2nd week, Advent

  • 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' pin:  Juan Diego, seeing Mary of Guadalupe, approached the bishop...
  • 'People' tie pin:  Your descendants will be as the sand (1st reading); children in the marketplace (gospel)
  • 'Lights' tie:  Light of life (psalm)
  • 'Tree' and 'apple' pins:  One who meditates on God's law is like a tree bearing fruit whose leaves never fade (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord watches over the way of the just (psalm)
  • 'Accordion' pin:  We played the flute and you didn't dance (gospel) [I don't have a 'flute' pin but did use a flute image for today's word cloud below, with Tagul's help]
  • 'Owl' pin:  Wisdom is vindicated by her works (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Liturgical color for St. Juan Diego memorial; 'light of life' (psalm)
  • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

Pope Francis
Homily:  Priests are called to be mediators for their flocks, not intermediaries.   The mediator gives himself to unite the parties; he pays with his life, fatigue, work,... to unite people and bring them to Jesus.  Jesus the Mediator annihilated himself, emptied himself, even unto death.
"Intermediary priests" are unhappy and will soon seek happiness in making their “authority” felt.  They take the path of rigidity:  often disconnected from people, they don't know what human suffering is; they forget what they learned at home.  They load the faithful with things they don't carry themselves.  They face people with a switch in their hand:  "This can't be...."  Their rigidity chases away people looking for of consolation and understanding.

Rigidity wrecks your interior life and balance; it goes hand in hand with worldliness.  You can recognize a good priest by whether he knows how to play with children.
Ask, today was I a functionary or a mediator?  Did I look after myself or serve others?  Good priests, mediators, lower themselves, get close to little things, caress, smile, play with children; go-betweens/intermediaries are sad, serious, dark.  Three great mediator-priest icons:
    • Polycarp didn't negotiate his vocation; he was brave all the way to the pyre.  When the fire was around him, the faithful smelled bread.  The mediator is bread for his faithful.
    • Francis Xavier died young on the beach, looking toward China, where he wanted to go.
    • Paul:  at the Three Fountains, soldiers got him, and he walked bent over, knowing it was because of treachery within the Christian community.  He offered himself to the Lord as a sacrifice.
Do I want to end my life as a functionary/intermediary, or a mediator on the cross?

At tree lighting:  The Christmas tree's beauty invites us to contemplate the Creator and to respect nature, his handiwork.  Its multicolored ornaments you children made represent the values of life, love, and peace that Christmas proposes to us.  The Maltese vessel in the nativity scene recalls the tragic reality of migrants.  May those who visit this nativity scene rediscover its symbolic value of fraternity, sharing, welcome, and solidarity.  The crib and tree form a message of hope and love; they foster a Christmas spirit that can draw us closer to living with faith the mystery of the birth of the Redeemer who came in simplicity and meekness.
  • Is 48:17-19  I teach and lead you for your good.  Hearken to my commandments; receive prosperity, vindication, and descendants.
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life."  Those who delight in God's law are like trees yielding fruit; they prosper.
"You didn't dance to the flute..."
  • Mt 11:16-19  This generation is like children who didn't dance to the flute or mourn to a dirge, rejecting John the Baptist and the Son of Man.  But wisdom's works vindicate her.
    • Creighton:  Isaiah says, if we follow God, prosperity follows.   When John the Baptist preached, many claimed he was possessed.  Christ was accused of being a drunkard, a glutton, and a lover of sinners and tax collectors.  The people were confused about the messiah's identity and mission; they didn't know that loving sinners was part of it.  Today, people, even Christians, are still trying to sort out the historical Jesus, revolutionary Jesus, social justice Jesus, and other conceptions, but we know his goal was to redeem everyone.  May I never forget that Christ is my Lord and Savior and loves me immensely....  
    • One Bread, One Body:  "'Mary' Christmas":  Those who are like Mary will have a true Christmas:  they obey God's commands and . They hearken to God's commands (Is 48:18) and let God's will be done unto them.  The key is obedience, surrender, pleasing the Lord, not self-indulgence,  Lord, help me to repent of my disobedience; give me the strength to follow you.
      Juan Diego/ Cabrera
    • Passionist:  "Dance to the pipes, and join in compassion with the sad":  The Advent readings began with an apocalypse, reminding us of the passing world. We imagine our ancestors waiting, not sure of what for.  The readings invite us to prayerful imagination.  Isaiah tells us God leads and instructs us and will vindicate us if we follow.  God’s music plays through us as did his spirit through Mary.  May each Christmas greeting, party, prayer, and work be a dance of hope with those with whom we share life....
    •  "The Lord will lead you":  God’s kingdom is available to those teachable, receptive, and obedient to God's word; they receive wisdom and peace and become blessings to their offspring.  Jesus compares proud teachers and scholars with stubborn playmates who don't follow wise counsel.  His parable about a group of musicians and their friends who refuse to dance challenges us to examine whether only hear and do what we want.  The young musicians react with dismay because they can't get anyone to follow them.  The parable echoes "There's a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance."  Am I in tune with God's message?  Do I heed God's wisdom and truth?  Jesus' message gives joy and hope to those who listen and obey but warn of disaster for those who refuse it.  The jealous scribes and Pharisees attributed John the Baptist's austerities to the devil and attributed Jesus' table fellowship as evidence for pretending to be Messiah. Their closed hearts and ears frustrated God's plan for their lives.  Indifference and contempt can make us spiritually dull, deaf to God's voice....
    • Universalis:  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.

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