The way the calendar days fall this year means that the second week of Advent is now under the patronage of Mary. In the space of only a few days, we will celebrate two important feasts of the Mother of Jesus. Yesterday, December 8, was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary and next Saturday, December 12, will be the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Immaculate Conception focuses on the unique role that Mary played at a critical moment of Salvation History, namely, the Incarnation of the Son of God. Our Church teaching proclaims that Mary was conceived without Original Sin, which means that throughout her whole being she was in full loving, living communion with God. This made her the perfect “welcoming abode” for the Son of God amid humanity. Taking her place among the great servants of God, Mary becomes the Lord’s servant (Lk 1: 38) and allows him to “make his dwelling among us” (Jn 1: 14).
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is very popular among our Latin American friends. That’s understandable since this feast marks the apparition of the Virgin Mary, in 1531, to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian, in the town of Tepeyac, near Mexico City. Mary asked him to build a church in her honor, which then became a popular pilgrimage site. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Queen of Mexico and patron saint of the Americas in 1946. John Paul II proclaimed her Mother of the Americas in 1999, during the Synod of the Americas.
These two Marian feasts naturally inspire within us an attitude of openness to the gift of God that we will receive at Christmas. Who better than Mary can accompany us along the path of faith and show us the happiness that flows from allowing the Gospel of mercy, the Gospel of God’s love to grow within us? Who better than Mary can help us to become Jesus’ disciples, the rich soil where God’s new world can be sown and flourish? Mary goes before us along the road to share with her cousin Elizabeth her joy of being a servant of the Lord. Isn’t Mary inviting us today, as well, to go out and visit our brothers and sisters and to share with them the joys and sorrows, the fears and hopes that is our common experience?
During this Advent, Mary reaches out to us. She invites us to lend an ear to the Word of Life and to open our heart to Jesus’ call to be his disciples.
Posted on Wednesday December 09 2009
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