Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
The Catholic Church in America is actively making missionary outreach and supporting Catholic ministries around the world. One thing that became apparent quite quickly was that there is quite a bit of animosity towards the traditional Colonial-style of missions. In that classic style of evangelism, the missionaries of past generations attempted to strip away cultural significance from virtually every place they operated. In this manner, they forced many peoples to abandon not only their spiritual traditions, but cultural attire, and even their language as somehow being offensive to God — replacing local traditions and customs with a European model of propriety and faith.
I had the privilege of working for a couple of years in Alaska, among their native peoples. I learned first hand the negative impact that this model of missions had on these people. If those missionaries had taken the time to investigate the culture of the Yupic or the “Real People,” they would have discovered that this culture had an ancient spiritual tradition of Creation that beautifully mimics the Christian tradition, and is highly compatible with our traditional faith. Learning their culture, rather than dismissing them as simply being “pagan” or uncultured, has had negative impacts that continue to this day.
Similar to the experiences of the Yupic peoples, it is important to acknowledge the culture of places where we minister, finding ways to authentically relate Christ to every people and nation where we journey. It is primarily for the above reasons that the CCIA actively supports the inculturation of such things as native dance and ritual that help people to tie their culture into their faith.
Homily for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 2018
Greetings my brothers and sisters.
It is always a blessing to visit the faithful here at Iglesia San Maximiliano Kolbe. It is even more special when my visit is on a special feast day such as today.
It was my pleasure last year to Consecrate the Catholic Church in America to the Sacred Heart of Mary under the title “Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
The universal Church has always maintained that God has a history of utilizing special messengers to communicate with his people. This was true in ancient times as well as in our own. We see in today’s Gospel that an Angel of the Lord, Gabriel, visits the blessed virgin, with a very special message, that she would bear our Lord, the incarnation of God in the flesh, as her child. Our Lady’s fiat, or her “yes,” when she proclaimed ” “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” allowed God to use her in a miraculous way — truly becoming the Virgin Mother of God.
People of every culture around the world have historically attempted to connect their existence answering the question — Why are we here on earth, and is there something greater than ourselves out there guiding our paths. It is in this understanding that ancient cultures constructed myths and legends attempting to define the undefinable or demystifying the mysterious.
When Our Lady appeared to St Diego in sixteenth0–century Mexico, as in all other valid Marian appearances, it was for a reason — Pointing to her son, Jesus the Christ as the one, true path to salvation. In this instance, the native peoples of that region had a tradition of classical Aztec mythology of Tonantzin, an Aztec mother goddess. In this instance, I believe that Our Lady’s Apparition at Tepeyac was to encourage the native population to embrace the one, true God and that the Blessed Virgin’s role was to be a guide to righteousness and a more authentic vision of spiritual truth.
Please join me in the following prayer:
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.
Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us, sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities, and our sorrows. Grant peace, justice, and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother. We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church; hold us always with your loving hand.
Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all our Bishops, Priests, and Deacons that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Contemplate this immense harvest, and intercede with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole People of God, and grant abundant vocations of Priests and Religious, strong in the Faith and zealous dispensers of God’s Mysteries.
Grant to our places of worship the Grace of loving and respecting LIFE in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the LIFE of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our Lady of Hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which gives Peace to the Soul.
We beg you to grant us a great love for all the Holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the Signs that your Son left us on earth.
Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the Peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true Joy and true Peace, which come to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.