Thứ Hai, 12 tháng 12, 2016


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Lectionary: 690A

Reading 1ZEC 2:14-17
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! 
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth. 
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.”
Responsorial PsalmJDT 13:18BCDE, 19
R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God, 
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
GospelLK 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

Meditation: "For with God nothing will be impossible"

Do you want to live a grace-filled life? The angel Gabriel salutes Mary as "full of grace". To become the mother of the Savior, Mary was enriched by God with gifts to enable her to assume this awesome role. There is a venerable tradition among many Christians, dating back to the early church, for honoring Mary as the spotless virgin who bore the Son of God in her womb. A number of early church fathers link Mary's obedience to this singular grace of God. "Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race... The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith" (from Adv. haeres 3.22.4, by Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, 130-200 AD).
Faith is the key that unlock's the power of God's kingdom in our lives
What is the key that can unlock the power and grace of God’s kingdom in our personal lives? Faith and obedience for sure! When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they immediately experienced the consequence of their action - separation from the God who loved them. God in his mercy promised them a Redeemer who would pay the price for their sin and the sin of the world. We see the marvelous unfolding of God's plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah. Mary's prompt response of "yes" to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers. Mary believed God's promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God's will, even if it seemed difficult or costly.
God gives us the grace to say "yes" to his will and to his transforming work in our lives
God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heart-felt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the grace, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God's promises and do you yield to his grace?
"Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified "yes" to your will and to your plan for my life."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersMary conceives the Creator of all things, by an anonymous early author from the Greek church
"Gabriel flew down from the vault of heaven and came to Nazareth; standing before the virgin Mary, he cried to her, 'Rejoice! You shall conceive a son more ancient than Adam, the Creator of all things and Savior of those who cry to you. Rejoice, pure virgin!' Gabriel brought from heaven good tidings to the Virgin, and he cried out to her, 'Rejoice! You shall conceive him whom the world cannot contain; he shall be contained within your womb. You shall bear him who shone forth from the Father before the morning star!' (Psalm 110:3).
"The co-eternal Word of the Father who has no beginning, not being parted from the things on high, has now descended here below, in his boundless love taking pity on fallen humankind. He has assumed the poverty of Adam, clothing himself in a form strange to him." (excerpt from  STICHERA OF THE ANNUNCIATION)

MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, LUKE 1:26-38 or 39-47

​(Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm: Luke 1)

KEY VERSE: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God" (v 30).
TO KNOW: In Luke’s gospel, the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist is paralleled with that of the birth of Jesus. Gabriel proclaimed the divine message to Mary (Hebrew, Miryam, "the exalted one"), a young girl who lived in the insignificant village of Nazareth. Mary was told that she would bear the "Son of the Most High" (v 32) who would inherit the eternal reign promised to King David (2 Sm 7:16). The child was to be named Jesus (Hebrew, Yeshua), a name that implied his mission: "Yahweh saves." Mary was given a sign to prove that "nothing was impossible with God" (v 37). Her kinswoman Elizabeth had conceived a son in her old age. In her Magnifcat, Mary extoled God's mercy and her faith in God's promise. She was God's handmaid, accepting whatever God desired of her. However, the angel did not tell Mary that her son would suffer and die. Luke says, “Then the angel departed from her. (Lk 1:38c). Mary would have to live in faith, doing God’s will as her son would do.
TO LOVE: Can I say with Mary, "Be it done unto me according to your will"?
TO SERVE: Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray that my heart will be open to God's plan for my life. 


The Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to a 55 year old man named Juan Diego on December 9, 1531. She sent him to Bishop Zumárraga asking that a chapel be built where she stood. The bishop did not immediately believe the messenger, and he finally told him to ask the lady, who said she was the mother of God, for a sign. Juan Diego readily agreed. Mary told Juan to gather roses, although he knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses. Placing the flowers in his tilma, a long cloak worn by Mexican Indians, he went to the Bishop. As he unfolded his cloak the roses fell to the ground. Juan was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing on the tilma. Pope Benedict XIV decreed that Our Lady of Guadalupe should be the national patron of Mexico, and made 12 December her feast. Pope John Paul II later named her the Patron of all the Americas.

Monday 12 December 2016

Mon 12th. Our Lady of Guadalupe. Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17. Teach me your ways, O LordPs 24(25):4-9. Matthew 21:23-27.
'What authority have you?'
Some people just have it. When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address, it went straight into the history books. The ancient Greek philosophers used phrases that are still the best portrayal of reality. The words, 'I have a Dream...' elevated Martin Luther King Jr into the pantheon of orators.
To his opponents, Jesus was a conundrum. They knew his humble background, yet his words mesmerised crowds. Whenever Jesus began to speak, people gathered to listen. They left their work, followed him into lonely places, forgot about eating. Using homely examples, Jesus spoke of profound realities, of a Father who loved and cared about each one of them. Those open to his message were transformed. They believed in their value as children of God. With Jesus, everything rang true. It was safe to listen to him and follow him.
Jesus, help me to do the same.


In 1531 a "Lady from Heaven" appeared to Saint Juan Diego, a poor Indian from Tepeyac, a hill northwest of Mexico City. She identified herself as the Mother of the True God and instructed him to have the bishop build a church on the site and left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on his tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth. The tilma should have deteriorated within 20 years but shows no sign of decay after over 470 years. To this day it defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

Apparently the tilma, in the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, reflects what was in front of her in 1531!  Her message of love and compassion, and her universal promise of help and protection to all mankind, as well as the story of the apparitions, are described in the "Nican Mopohua," a 16th century document written in the native Nahuatl language.

There is reason to believe that at Tepeyac Mary came in her glorified body, and her actual physical hands rearranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma, which makes this apparition very special.

An incredible list of miracles, cures, and interventions are attributed to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Each year an estimated 10 million people visit her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian shrine in the world, and the most visited Catholic church in the world after Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Altogether 24 popes have officially honored Our Lady of Guadalupe. His Holiness Blessed John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times: on his first apostolic trip outside Rome as Pope in 1979, and again in 1990, 1999 and 2002.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th. In 1999, Blessed John Paul II, in his homily given during the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent. During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

Patronage: Americas, Central America, diocese of Colorado Springs Colorado, diocese of Corpus Christi Texas, diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, Estremadura Spain, diocese of Gallup New Mexico, Mexico, diocese of Nashville Tennessee, New Mexico, New World, diocese of Orange California, diocese of Phoenix Arizona, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, diocese of Sacramento, California, diocese of Sioux City Iowa, Spain.


Lectio Divina: 
 Monday, December 12, 2016
3rd Week of Advent

1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
in a world of injustice, war and exploitation,
in which more and more people
have the means to live
but not many reasons to live for,
you promise us a star to follow,
Jesus, your Son.
God, keep in us the hope alive
that he will come today
and that, if we are willing
to take the demands of the Gospel seriously,
we can become indeed a new people
completely renewed in Christ,
our Saviour for ever and ever.
2) Gospel reading - Matthew 21,23-27
Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, 'What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?'
In reply Jesus said to them, 'And I will ask you a question, just one; if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this.
John's baptism: what was its origin, heavenly or human?' And they argued this way among themselves, 'If we say heavenly, he will retort to us, "Then why did you refuse to believe him?"; but if we say human, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.'
So their reply to Jesus was, 'We do not know.' And he retorted to them, 'Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.'
3) Reflection
• The Gospel today describes the conflict that Jesus had with the religious authority of the time, after that he drove out the merchants from the Temple. The priests and the elders of the people wanted to know with which authority Jesus was doing those things: to go into the Temple and drive out the merchants (cf. Mt 21, 12-13). The authority considered itself the master of all and thought that nobody could do anything without their permission. This is why they persecuted Jesus and tried to kill him. Something similar was also happening in the Christian communities of the years seventy-eighty, the time in which the Gospel of Jesus was written. Those who resisted the authority of the Empire were persecuted. There were others, so as not to be persecuted, tried to reconcile Jesus’ project, with the project of the Roman Empire (cf. Ga 6, 12). The description of the conflict of Jesus with the authority of his time was a help for the Christians, so that they could continue fearless in the persecutions and would not allow themselves to be manipulated by the ideology of the Empire. Today, also, some who exercise power, whether in society or in the Church and the family, want to control everything as if they were the masters of all the aspects of the life of the people. They even persecuted those who thought in a different way. Keeping in mind these thoughts and problems, let us read and meditate on today’s Gospel.
• Matthew 21, 23: The question of the religious authority to Jesus. “What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered: “And I will ask you a question, just one, if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism, what was its origin, heavenly or human? Jesus went back to the Temple. When he taught, the chief priests and the elders of the people went close to him and asked: With what authority do you do these things? Who has given you this authority?” Jesus again goes around the great square of the Temple. Then appear some priests and elders to question him. After everything that Jesus had done the day before, they want to know with which authority he does these things. They did not ask which was the true reason which urged Jesus to drive out the merchants from the Temple (cf. Mt 21, 12-13). They only ask with which authority he does those things. They think that they have the right to control everything. They do not want to lose control of things.
• Matthew 21, 24-25ª: The question of Jesus to the authority. Jesus does not refuse answering, but he shows his independence and liberty and says: “I also, will ask you a question, if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism, what was its origin, heavenly or human?” This was an intelligent question, simple as a dove and cunning as a serpent! (cf. Mt 10, 16). The question shows the lack of honesty of his enemies. For Jesus, the baptism of John came from heaven, came from God. He himself had been baptised by John (Mt 3, 13-17). The men who had power, on the contrary, had plotted or planned the death of John (Mt 14, 3-12). And in this way they showed that they did not accept the message of John and that they considered his baptism like something from men and not from God.
• Matthew 21, 25b-26: Reasoning of the authority. The priests and the elders were aware of the importance or significance of the question and reasoned in the following way: "If we say heavenly, he will retort to us. Then why did you refuse to believe him? If we answer human, then we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet”. And therefore, so as not to expose themselves they answered: “We do not know!” This is an opportunist response, a pretence and interested one. Their only interest was not to lose their power over the people. Within themselves they had already decided everything: Jesus should be condemned to death (Mt 12, 14).
• Matthew 21, 27: Final conclusion of Jesus. And Jesus says to them: “Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this”. Their total lack of honesty makes them unworthy to receive an answer from Jesus.
4) Personal questions
• Have you ever felt that you are being controlled without any right, by the authority of the house, in work, in the Church? Which was your reaction?
• We all have some authority. Even in a conversation between two persons, each one has certain power, a certain authority. How do I use the power, how do I exercise authority: to serve and to liberate or to dominate and control?
5) Concluding prayer
Direct me in your ways, Yahweh,
and teach me your paths.
Encourage me to walk in your truth
and teach me since you are the God who saves me. (Sal 25,4-5)