Monday, December 12, 2016


Revelation 12:1

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.


O God, Father of mercies,
who placed your people under the singular protection
of your Son's most holy Mother,
grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe,
may seek with ever more lively faith
the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

ZEC 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.

RV 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

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 Psalm
JDT 13:18BCDE, 19

R. 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.

LK 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.

LK 1:39-47

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.”


An elder Mexican man makes his way to Mass in the early morning twilight of December 9, 1531. He is a peasant, a simple farmer and laborer, and he has no education. Born under Aztec rule, 
he is a convert to Catholicism, and each step he takes this morning is a step into history.

The morning quiet is broken by a strange music that he will later describe as the beautiful sound of birds. Diverting his path to investigate the sound, 
Juan Diego comes face to face with a radiant apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Juan Diego is 57 years old. He has just encountered the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former Aztec Temple. His wife has died two years earlier, and he lives with his elder uncle, scratching his living from the earth as a humble peasant farmer. Why should this unlearned, 
man be chosen by Our Lady to carry a message to the Bishop? 
Perhaps because she would find none other as humble as Juan Diego.

Juan Diego is dazzled by the incredible beauty and miraculous nature of Our Lady's appearance. 
She appears as a native princess to him, 
and her words sound more beautiful than the sweetest music ever made.

Our Lady calms the startled traveler, and assures him of who she is. She instructs Juan Diego to visit his bishop and ask that a temple be built on the site of her appearance, so that she will have a place to hear petitions and to heal the suffering of the Mexican people. "Now go and put forth your best effort," 
Our Lady instructs.

Visibly shaken, Juan Diego approaches the Bishop who is initially very skeptical of his account. What did this peasant truly want? Does he merely seek attention? Notoriety? Money? 
Or is he possessed by demons? Has Juan Diego been tricked by the Devil?

The Bishop patiently listens to Juan Diego's accounts and dismisses him. The humble farmer has failed.

Juan Diego begins to doubt himself. He returns to Tepeyac Hill where he hopes for some conformation of what he's experienced. Indeed, Our Lady does not disappoint, for she appears again, as radiant as before. Juan Diego tells Our Lady what she already knows, that the Bishop did not believe him. 
She instructs him to return the next morning and ask again.

The Bishop is beside himself. Why did this peasant insist on telling this story? How could he know if the peasant was lying or perhaps insane? At their second meeting, the Bishop asks for a sign. Juan Diego makes a promise he won't keep, saying he will return the very next morning with a sign from Our Lady.

But that evening, Juan Diego returns home to find his uncle, Juan Bernadino, who is 68 years old, and suddenly, terribly ill. The illness is known to the people there and it brings a burning fever so hot, it's almost always fatal. Juan Diego cannot leave his uncle's bedside to keep his pledge to the Bishop. He spends two days with his uncle, trying to save him. When it becomes apparent his uncle is about to die, he leaves to find a priest who can prepare him for death.

Frightened and saddened, Juan Diego sets off in a great hurry, time is running out, and Juan Diego is afraid his uncle will die without a last confession. On the road, in his way, Our Lady appears for a third time. Upset and afraid, Juan explains himself. Our Lady replies, "Am I not your mother? ... 
Are you not in the crossing of my arms?" she asks.

Shamed by the admonishment, but emboldened by Our Lady's presence, Juan Diego asks for the sign he promised to the Bishop. He knows he is wrong to doubt Our Lady. Juan Diego is instructed to climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill where he will find flowers. He is to pick the flowers there, which are unlike any he has seen before, and he is to keep them hidden in his tilma until he reaches the Bishop.

Juan Diego is skeptical again. It's December, 
what flowers could grow on the summit of the hill in this cold?

Nevertheless, he obeys and atop the hill he finds a great number of flowering roses which he picks and hastily gathers into his cloak.

For the third time, Juan Diego is ushered in to see the Bishop. The skeptical cleric has waited for two days to see what sign Our Lady has for him. Juan opens his tilma, letting the roses cascade to the floor. But more than the roses, both men are astonished to see what is painted on his humble tilma - 
an exquisite image of Our Lady.

In the image, she stands as she appeared, a native princess with high cheekbones. Her head is bowed and her hands are folded in prayer to God. On her blue cloak, the stars are arranged as they appeared in the morning darkness at the hour of her first apparition.

Under her feet, is a great crescent moon, a symbol of the old Aztec religion. The message is clear, 
she is more powerful than the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.

At the same time Our Lady is appearing to Juan Diego, and directing him to cut the flowers on Tepeyac Hill, she also appears to his uncle, Juan Bernadino who believes he is about to die. As soon as she appears, the fever stops and Juan Bernadino feels well again. She tells Juan Bernadino, 
she wants to be known as "Santa Maria, de Guadalupe."

Our Lady of Guadalupe did not appear again, for her mission was complete. The temple was built and remains there today, in what is now a suburb of Mexico City. Juan Diego's tilma, woven from cactus fibers, with a shelf-life of just 30 years at best, remains miraculously preserved.

The symbolism of Our Lady's dress is obvious to over eight million Native Mexicans, whom all speak different languages. She is brighter than the sun, more powerful than any Aztec god, yet she is not a god herself, and she prays to one greater than her. Her gown is adorned with stars in the correct position as in the night sky, and the gold fringe of her cloak mirrors the surrounding countryside. Millions of natives will convert at the news of what has happened. Millions more will make pilgrimages over the next five centuries to see the miraculous tilma, and to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. 
Great miracles continue to occur, even today.

On October 12, 1945, Pope Pius XII, decreed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be "Patroness of all the Americas." Her feast day is December 12, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation in Mexico.

Our Lady of Guadalupe had this to say to Juan Diego:

"Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of heaven and earth. It is my earnest wish that a temple be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes."

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

Let us adore the Lord,
the King who is to come.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

Let us adore the Lord,
the King who is to come.

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Let us adore the Lord,
the King who is to come.

Gates, raise your heads.
Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

Let us adore the Lord,
the King who is to come.

Gates, raise your heads.
Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

Let us adore the Lord,
the King who is to come.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Let us adore the Lord,
the King who is to come.


The Advent of our God
With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
To all eternity.

Psalm 105 (106)
The Lord's goodness and his people's infidelity

O Lord, remember us:
come to us with your help

Give praise to the Lord, for he is good,
for his kindness is forever.
Who shall tell of his powerful deeds?
Who shall proclaim the praises of the Lord?
Blessed are they who keep his decrees,
who do right at all times.
Remember us, Lord, in your love for your people,
and bring us your salvation,
so that we may see the good things you have kept for your chosen ones,
that we may rejoice in the joys of your people,
that we may glory with those whom you have made your heirs.
Like our fathers, we too have sinned:
we have done wrong, we have transgressed.
Our fathers, in Egypt, did not understand your miracles;
they did not remember the abundance of your mercies,
but rebelled as they approached the Red Sea.
Still he saved them, for his own name’s sake,
and to make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up.
He led them through its depths as if through a desert.
He saved them from the hands of those who hated them,
he set them free from slavery at the hands of their enemies.
The water covered their oppressors:
not one was left alive.
Then they believed his word,
and they sang his praises.
But soon they forgot what he had done,
and refused to submit to his direction.
They embraced desire in the desert
and put God to the test in the waterless places.
He gave them all they requested,
he filled their hearts with his abundance.
But in the camp, they grew jealous of Moses
and Aaron, consecrated to the Lord.
The earth opened and swallowed Dathan,
covered the party of Abiram.
Fire broke out against them,
flames burnt up the sinners.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

O Lord, remember us:
come to us with your help

Psalm 105 (106)

Take care you do not forget the covenant the Lord your God has made with you.

At Horeb they made a calf
and worshipped a statue.
They exchanged the glory of their people
for the likeness of a bull, that eats grass.
They forgot their God, who had saved them,
who had done great miracles for them in Egypt,
wonders in the land of Ham,
terrors at the Red Sea.
Then he said that he would destroy them,
but Moses, his chosen one, was there:
he stood in the breach before him
to turn aside his wrath,
to prevent the destruction.
To them, the Promised Land meant nothing,
they did not believe the Lord’s word.
They stayed muttering in their tents,
they were deaf to the voice of the Lord.
So he raised his hand against them
to crush them in the desert,
to scatter their seed among the nations,
to disperse them in foreign lands.
They made themselves followers of Baal-Peor,
they ate the sacrifices of the dead.
They angered the Lord by their actions,
and a plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up and gave judgement,
and the plague was stopped.
For this, he is revered as one of the just,
from generation to generation,
for all eternity.
At the waters of Meribah they so angered the Lord
that Moses suffered on their account:
they so embittered his spirit
that his lips spoke rash words.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Take care you do not forget the covenant the Lord your God has made with you.

Psalm 105 (106)

O Lord, save us;
gather us from among the nations.

They did not destroy the peoples
as the Lord had told them they must.
They mingled themselves with the peoples,
and learned to do as they did.
They served the same idols
until it became their undoing.
They sacrificed their own sons
and their daughters to demons.
They poured out innocent blood.
The blood of their own sons and daughters
was sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.
Their blood polluted the land,
and their actions defiled them.
They devoted themselves to whoring.
The Lord blazed out in anger against his own people,
he detested his own chosen race.
He gave them into the hands of foreigners,
they were conquered by those who hated them.
Their enemies persecuted them
and humbled them beneath their hands.
Many times he freed them,
but they turned him against themselves
by falling back into wickedness.
Still he looked upon their distress
when he heard their cries.
He remembered his covenant,
and in his infinite kindness he repented.
He made them an object of pity
and kindness to all their captors.
Save us, O Lord, our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
so that we may proclaim your holy name,
and rejoice as we praise you.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from the beginning and for all time.
And all the people shall cry, “Amen! Alleluia!”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

O Lord, save us;
gather us from among the nations.

The Lord proclaims his word to Jacob;
– to Israel, his laws and decrees.

First Reading
Isaiah 29:1-8

Woe, Ariel, Ariel,
city where David encamped.
Let a year or two pass,
let the feasts make their full round
then I will lay siege to Ariel,
and there will be moaning and bemoaning.
You will be an Ariel for me,
like David I will encamp against you,
I will blockade you with palisades,
and mount siege-works against you.
Thrown down – you will speak from the ground,
your words will come muffled by dust.
Your voice will rise from the earth like a ghost’s,
you will speak from the dust in a whisper.
Suddenly, unexpectedly,
you will be visited by the Lord of Hosts
with thunder, earthquake, mighty din,
hurricane, tempest, flame of devouring fire.
The horde of your enemies shall be scattered like fine dust,
the tyrant horde like flying chaff;
the horde of all the nations at war with Ariel
shall vanish like a dream, like a vision at night.
And all those fighting against her,
the entrenchments besieging her,
shall be like the hungry man who dreams he eats,
and wakes with an empty belly,
like the thirsty man who dreams he drinks
and wakes exhausted, his throat parched;
so shall it be with the horde of all the nations
making war on Mount Zion.


Fear not, Jerusalem,
for you will not be put to shame
when you will be visited by the Lord of hosts.

The multitude of all the nations that fight against you shall be like flying chaff,
when you will be visited by the Lord of hosts.

Second Reading
From a sermon
by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot

Mary and the Church

The Son of God is the first-born of many brothers. Although by nature he is the only-begotten, by grace he has joined many to himself and made them one with him. 
For to those who receive him he has given the power to become the sons of God.

He became the Son of man and made many men sons of God, uniting them to himself by his love and power, so that they became as one. In themselves they are many by reason of their human descent, 
but in him they are one by divine rebirth.

The whole Christ and the unique Christ – the body and the head – are one: one because born of the same God in heaven, and of the same mother on earth. They are many sons, yet one son. Head and members are one son, yet many sons; in the same way, Mary and the Church are one mother, 
yet more than one mother; one virgin, yet more than one virgin.

Both are mothers, both are virgins. Each conceives of the same Spirit, without concupiscence. Each gives birth to a child of God the Father, without sin. Without any sin, Mary gave birth to Christ the head for the sake of his body. By the forgiveness of every sin, the Church gave birth to the body, 
for the sake of its head. Each is Christ’s mother,
but neither gives birth to the whole Christ without the cooperation of the other.

In the inspired Scriptures, what is said in a universal sense of the virgin mother, the Church, is understood in an individual sense of the Virgin Mary, and what is said in a particular sense of the virgin mother Mary is rightly understood in a general sense of the virgin mother, the Church. When either is spoken of, the meaning can be understood of both, almost without qualification.

In a way, every Christian is also believed to be a bride of God’s Word, a mother of Christ, his daughter and sister, at once virginal and fruitful. These words are used in a universal sense of the Church, in a special sense of Mary, in a particular sense of the individual Christian. 
They are used by God’s Wisdom in person, the Word of the Father.

This is why Scripture says: I will dwell in the inheritance of the Lord. The Lord’s inheritance is, 
in a general sense, the Church;
in a special sense, Mary; in an individual sense, the Christian.

Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. 
He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. 
He will dwell for ever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.


I will set up my dwelling among you,
and I will not cast you off.
I will live in your midst;
I will be your God and you shall be my people.

You are the temple of the living God,
as God himself has said:
I will live in your midst;
I will be your God and you shall be my people.

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
let the splendour of your glory dawn in our hearts.
May the coming of your only Son dispel all darkness
and reveal that we are children of light.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.