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Second Sunday of Advent

 

THE LONG-AWAITED ONE
   As the Sundays of Advent unfold the scriptures shift focus from the final coming of the Lord to his historical birth. Today’s scriptures blend the two. Isaiah’s disillusionment with the kings of his own day led him to envision an ideal king who would rule with divine approval and be led by divine wisdom. For centuries the Jewish people anticipated the arrival of that Messiah, who would usher in a blessed age when the whole world would finally dwell in justice and peace.

After centuries of such growing expectation, the preaching of John the Baptist about the imminent arrival of the Messiah could not help but provoke intense interest. The Baptist’s message about preparation for “the one who is coming” (Matthew 3:11) makes clear that Jesus is, in fact, the long-awaited one who is ushering in the new age foretold by Isaiah and all the prophets.
 

SAINT JUAN DIEGO (1474-1548)
December 9

 

   How well Mary’s own words describe Juan Diego: “God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). Through him, for the diverse peoples of the Americas, indigenous and immigrant, the Mother of God became known as their Mother, too. Cuauhtlatzin, his given name, means “One Who Speaks Like an Eagle,” and Juan Diego faithfully delivered the Virgin’s request that a church be built at Tepeyac where she had appeared to him. To the skeptical bishop’s request for a sign, Our Lady showed Juan Diego roses blooming through stony ground, despite winter’s cold. When he unfolded his tilma to present them to the bishop, imprinted there was Mary’s image! Her blue sash and the flower over her womb were traditional Aztec symbols of pregnancy and new life. But her features were those of a mestiza, indicating mixed Aztec-European heritage. Thus to peoples too easily prone to a “clash of cultures,” Our Lady of Guadalupe remains the enduring icon of unity-in-diversity, the fruit of our one baptism into Jesus, her Son.

 


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