Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week we celebrate the Feast of our Patroness, the Immaculate Conception, and the patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe. We often have heard those titles of Mary, but without much familiarity with them.
The Dogma (an irrevocable truth contained in Divine Revelation as the Catechism defines it) of the Immaculate Conception is sometimes confused with Jesus being born without sin. It actually refers to the Blessed Virgin Mother who was conceived (Conception) without sin/original sin (Immaculate). It is fitting, says St. Thomas Aquinas, that the mother of Jesus had to be completely perfect, in order to receive Jesus in her womb. Like her, we ourselves are also called to be perfect in order to receive Jesus in our souls. It is only through the immense love that God has for each of us that we can be transformed, like Mary, in this holy tabernacle to carry Jesus within us. This radical transformation can be intimidating, as we need much help to be Holy as God is Holy, to be courageous to follow the Word of God, to receive the Lord within us, just like Mary. This past Monday, we heard the Gospel from the Roman Centurion that asks Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant (Mt. 8:5-11). As Jesus wants to come at his request, the Centurion replies that he is not worthy that Jesus should enter under his roof. That is what we say at every mass right before communion. But the beauty is that Jesus DOES WANT TO DWELL IN US, in our hearts, mind, and lives, even though we are not yet perfect! As God bestowed many graces to the Blessed Mother (full of Grace), He also wants to bless us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens and on earth (Ephesians 1:3). At the example of the blessed Mother let us not be afraid to become the handmaid of the Lord, and accept all the blessings from God.
Additionally, the Blessed Mother herself also intercedes for us, caring for us, like a mother. When Juan Diego was in a rush to ask a priest to visit his dying uncle, he avoided the place where Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared to him, in order to complete his task. Nonetheless, she appeared to him for a second time. After listening to his concern for his uncle, she said, “Listen my little child, let nothing frighten you or disturb you. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? … Let nothing else worry you, disturb you.” Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us entrust all our preoccupations, concerns, and worries to her. Let us focus in this time of Advent, to be ready to welcome Christ in our lives through our Blessed Mother, just like Christmas.
On Monday, December 9th our masses for the Immaculate Conception are 7:30am, 9:00am in English, 7:00pm trilingual preceded by a trilingual rosary at 6:00pm. Our Lady of Guadalupe mass will be on Thursday, December 12th at 7:00pm. Please join us.
God bless, Fr. Steven
Father Steven Clemence