Wednesday, November 28, 2012

12/14/2012 – Friday of Second Week of Advent - St John of the Cross - Matthew 11:16-19 –

It is amazing how so often in our lives we are open to only what we want to hear; we only see our own perspective and are perhaps oblivious to what else is going on around us.  In the Gospel today, we are told a parable in which the people only hear what they want to hear.  The children play music for dancing, the others did not join in the dance; they play laments and dirges for mourning, but the others did not join in their wailing & their cries of anguish. There is a time for everything in the Lord.  Our lives go in cycles.  Sometimes we experience wonderful, joyful times in our lives, and at other times, there is extreme pain or sadness. 
We are in the midst of the Advent season, a time of waiting & preparation.  Yet, we live in a society of instant gratification & pleasure, where we don’t want to wait, where we get impatient if we need a lot of time for preparation.  Yet, Advent is a time where we are called to repent, to wait, & to examine what it going on in our hearts and in our lives of faith.  Sometimes, that is not easy to do since our restlessness and our impatience can get the best of us.  While most of our society is already celebrating Christmas, we wait and we prepare.
Today, we celebrate St John of the Cross, a very beloved saint in our Church who led a very difficult life. John lived in the last half of the 16th century in Spain in a very difficult time in the life of our Church, when the faithful were dealing with the consequences of the Protestant Reformation and when the Spanish Inquisition was deciding who was being true to the faith. John of the Cross and his mentor, Teresa of Avila, were Carmelites who both tried to reform their order.  They wanted to bring the Carmelites back to the humble roots of their monastic tradition.  Yet, at this time in history, the Church was very suspicious of any efforts at reform.  Ultimately, John of the Cross was persecuted and jailed by his own order of monks for his attempts at reform.   He died during his incarceration.  Yet, today, the Church is able to recognize the genius of this saint – he is now a Doctor of the Church & he is considered one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language.  As I mention, John is very beloved by many of the faithful, and I in particular have a great devotion to him.  I am fascinated by the way he expresses his love for God in such a mystical way, how he unites his sufferings & burdens with the sufferings that Jesus endured.  John once said: “If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes & walk in the dark.” 
As we celebrate this wonderful Advent season, as we prepare and wait, let us ask for the intercessions of John of the Cross and all the saints to accompany us during this holy season. 

12/13/2012 – Thursday of Second Week of Advent – Psalm 145 – St Lucy

       The refrain from our psalm today asserts: “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.” Sometimes, though, when we see the ways of the world, we seem to be very far from mercy and kindness and graciousness.  We celebrate St Lucy today, one of the beloved saints from our Early Church.  She died around the year 304 in the persecutions authorized by the Emperor Diocletian when the legal rights of the followers of the Jesus to practice their faith were rescinded in the Roman Empire.  Lucy is said to have been a member of an aristocratic family who refused to marry the pagan man to who she was betrothed.  It is said that she had her taken out of her by the Roman soldiers, so we recognize St Lucy as the patron saint of those who are blind and those with diseases of the eye.  St Lucy is very beloved by the people of the Scandinavian countries, so we pray for them today as well.
            It is easy for easy to feel removed from God’s love and mercy when we experience the harshness and struggles of this world.  Even unto death, St Lucy and the other martyrs of the Early Church kept their faith and gave thanks to the God of love and mercy.  May we do the same.

12/12/2012 – Our Lady of Guadalupe – Luke 1:39-47 –

       In 1531, almost 500 years ago, a Lady from heaven appeared to poor & humble Juan Diego on Tepeyac hill in Mexico.  She identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  She requested that a church be built on that site, but the bishop asked Juan to bring him a sign that this was really the Blessed Mother. Mary sent Juan Diego to the top of the hill to collect roses to give to the bishop as his sign, where roses wouldn't normally grow in winter.   Juan collected the roses in his tilma made from catus fibers.  When Juan unfurled his tilma to give the roses to the bishop, an image of Our Lady was revealed, miraculously printed on the tilma. This image that still appears on the tilma today as it is on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. 
      Even our modern technology cannot explain how that image of our Lord got on that tilma & how it has been preserved for so many years.  Over the centuries, Our Lady of Guadalupe has appealed to the hearts of the faithful throughout the world. Miracles & cures are attributed to her healing power, bringing 20 million pilgrims to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico each year.  
      Even today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the image of hope & liberation in Mexico & all over Latin America.  Go through a poor Mexican American neighborhood in the United States & you will see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe everywhere.  I remember watching a big soccer game on TV back in 2001 when I was studying in Costa Rica that summer; when the Mexican soccer star scored the winning goal in a seemingly impossible shot, he tore off his soccer jersey to display the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a T-shirt underneath, giving her the honor of his winning shot. The image that Juan Diego brought into the world has so much meaning on so many levels even for us today. 
      This feast shows how important Mary is as the mother of our Church, in addition to helping us to better appreciate the Hispanic culture in our county today & the gifts that they bring to our Church & to our society.  Just as Elizabeth called Mary blessed among women, we proclaim Mary blessed as well as we honor her as our Mother.
       Today, let us look to Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe as examples of faith speaking out to us from a time & place so different from our modern world, but with a message that still resonates today.  May the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the image of a poor native woman who will bear a child, help us to prepare a place in our hearts for the upcoming birth of Christ into our world.  May Our Lady of Guadalupe inspire us to help others in our community & in our world as a symbol of unity for all of us who live in the Americas.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

12/2/2012 – Homilia del primer domingo del adviento – ciclo C – Lucas 21: 21, 25-28. 34-36

     Según nuestro Señor en el Evangelio de hoy, el fin de los tiempos viene.  Entonces, necesitamos estar despiertos y vigilantes y necesitamos orar, porque no sabemos cuando llegará el momento importante en nuestra vida, cuando llegará Jesucristo otra vez. En la misa de hoy, empezamos el Adviento, un tiempo de preparación, un tiempo de espera. En Adviento, esperamos cuatro semanas antes del nacimiento de Jesús en nuestro mundo. 
     El Adviento es una vigilancia constante y responsable para nosotros, los creyentes de Jesucristo.  Como seres humanos, esperamos muchas cosas en nuestra vida, como el momento cuando podemos empezar la escuela, cuando podemos salir de la casa de nuestros padres, cuando podemos trabajar, y podemos manejar un carro. Pero, la espera que tememos en nuestra vida de fe como católicos es muy distinta.  Tenemos una espera en el presente, es verdad, pero esta espera mueve al futuro cuando llega el nacimiento de Jesús, y cuando llegará Jesús otra vez en el futuro también.  Tenemos que esperar como nuestra vocación católica, como nuestra llamada de fe.  Muchos de nosotros queremos esperar según nuestra propia voluntad, según las expectativas que tenemos, según nuestros deseos y nuestros antojos.  Pero, al contrario – como católicos, como seguidores de Cristo, necesitamos esperar en Adviento según el ritmo de Dios en nuestro mundo. En esta espera, necesitamos tener confianza en Dios.  Necesitamos tener confianza en nuestra fe.
      En esta espera que tenemos en Jesús en Adviento, tenemos un encuentro con El – un encuentro vivo.  En verdad - tenemos una relación muy especial con El.  Sabemos que el niño Jesús llega en nuestro mundo y en nuestra vida en el 25 de diciembre.  Pero, el Señor no nos dice cuando El viene otra vez.  No sabemos la fecha, no sabemos la hora.   Hay personas que dicen que ellos pueden calcular esta fecha concreta.  Pero, la palabra de Dios nos dice que nadie puede saber la fecha en este respecto.  Por esta razón, debemos mantenernos alertos. Debemos estar vigilantes y despiertos para descubrir la invitación de conversión que Dios tiene para nosotros. 
      En el Adviento este año, Dios nos invita para caminar con El.  Para orar continuamente.  Para estar alertos y atentos.  Para esperar con todos nuestros corazones. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

12/12/12 - la Virgen de Guadalupe - Lucas 1:39-47

         En 1531 una Señora del Cielo se apareció a un pobre indigenas, Juan Diego, en un cerro al noroeste de la actual ciudad de México; se identificó como la virgen María, Madre del verdadero Dios. Le manifestó que era su deseo que una iglesia le fuera construída en ese lugar, y le encargó que vaya a transmitirle su deseo al Obispo. Cuando el Obispo dudó el mensaje y le pidió una prueba, la Virgin Maria obedeció al pedido del obispo y envió a Juan Diego a la cima del cerro a recoger, en medio del invierno, un ramo de rosas para el Obispo.
         Luego de que las flores le fueran entregadas al Obispo, dejó una imagen de sí misma impresa en su tilma, un tejido de cactus de poca calidad que se debió haber deteriorado muy rapido.  Pero la tilma todavia existe y aún desafía toda explicación científica sobre su origen.
         El mensaje universal de la Virgen de Guadalupe es de compasión y amor, y su promesa de ayuda y protección es para toda la humanidad, Una lista de milagros, curas e intervenciones se atribuyen a la Virgen de Guadalupe. Es estimado que cada año entre 18 y 20 millones de peregrinos visitan su basilica haciendo de su casa en la ciudad de Mexico el Santuario Mariano mas popular, al igual que el sanctuario cristiano mas visitado del mundo.
         El Juan Pablo II, en su homilía durante la Misa Solemne en la Basílica de Guadalupe declaró en su visita a Mexico en 1999 que la fecha del 12 de Diciembre de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe es una Fiesta liturgica para todo el continente de las Américas.
         En el Envangelio de hoy, su prima Isabel declaro que Maria es bendita entre todas las mujeres.  Tambien, nosotros podemos declarar que Maria es bendita, que ella tiene un puesto muy especial en nuestros corazones y en nuestra Iglesia.  Para nostros y para nuestra Iglesia, la Virgen de Guadalupe es un simbolo de la liberacion y de liberatad del los captivos, especialmente durante los sufriemientos de nuestra vida. Muchos de nosotors aqui estamos afuera de nuestra patria, afuers de nuestros amigos & familias, sufriendo mucho solo para vivir.  La Senora de Guadalupe esta siempre con nosotros con la ternura de nuestra madre. Ella esta siempre con nosotros.