The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

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Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Date: 
Tue, 12/12/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

“Olah”  That’s Spanish for “hello”.  That’s about all the Spanish I know.
I thought I’d speak a little Spanish to highlight the ethnic origins of today’s feast.
In reality, I should also speak a few words in Aztec Indian…but I don’t know any.
The Virgin of Guadalupe is meztisa: 
her face is one of a girl who is from Aztec and European ancestry.
In Mexico, today is a Holy Day of Obligation.  We celebrate it as a feast.
The Hispanic parishioners at Christo Rey
started preparing for this feast day about four weeks ago.
They’ve been holding a novena….
the tradition is that every night for four weeks Hispanic Catholics
meet at a different home and pray the rosary.
 
Tonight the novena ends.  There will be Mass followed by a fiesta.
After the fiesta, at about midnight, the people will return to Church for prayer.
The Hispanic people have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
I see her image on car windows, on tee shirts, and as a tattoo.
It is estimated that 18-20 million pilgrims per year from around the world
make their way to the Basilica where the cloak of Juan Diego is on display.
 
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on the cloak of Juan Diego,
draws us back to the hope generated by the birth of Christ.
The Virgin of Guadalupe wears the blue band of expectant Aztec women
and on her womb appears a flower, the Aztec symbol for new life and a new era. 
She blocks the sun, which the natives had worshiped as a god. 
This image is revered as a symbol of God’s love for all American natives.
 
The celebration of this feast day, as we recall Juan Diego’s encounter
with the Lady from Heaven, the sign of the roses,
and the image of Our Lady miraculously appearing on the inside his “tilma”,
his cactus-cloth cloak…which has remained intact for almost 500 years,
the celebration of this feast day stirs us to new hope about the future:
the birth of Christ in the hearts of the people of this land….
especially the Juan Diegos of our time.
Jesus, the Son of God, will come anew to those who are oppressed and poor,
those who are not seen, whose plight is not recognized by the wealthy and affluent.
 
Mary, as mother of Christ, was influential in strengthening the faith of the first disciples.
On this feast we pray that Mary will stir our hearts, deepen our knowledge of the faith,
and renew our living in this world according to Christian values.
We pray for that same influence, that same strength, that we might recommit to discipleship
and participate with great zeal in the Church’s mission and ministry
to evangelize people in need of the gospel, to lift them up and give them hope
as they face the difficulties and challenges set before them.
In many places in the world the gospel has been forgotten and/or it is met with indifference
due to wide-spread secularism.  In such places a new spirit needs to be awakened.
 
During Advent we hear of people who faithfully waited for the birth of a Savior…
they looked for the signs, cooperated with the grace, and responded in joy.
May we too respond with joyful hearts…and may our joy spill out into the world
as we sing our Advent song. 
 
Our prayer for today is one word: ““Maranatha”  Come, Lord Jesus.  Amen!”