Today is the FEAST of OUR LADY of GUADALOPE, Patroness to the Americas. We are celebrating the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to an Aztec Indian (St. Juan Diego) on a hill-top, what is today part of Mexico City. As a miracle, her image was imprinted on Juan’s cape made of cactus fibers, in vibrant colors and microscopic detail, for surpassing the capabilities of that time period. Nearly 470 years later, this still pristine cape, is still hanging in a Cathedral in Mexico City: a cape that should only last, at most, 50-60 years. For those that believe, there is no explanation necessary: for those that don’t, there is no explanation possible.
Also, today is the first day of the eight-day Jewish Feast of Hanukkah, also know as the festival of lights. May I wish a festival celebration of your Jewish faith, as we celebrate the coming of our baby Jesus; the light of the new world to come with Him in paradise.
12 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,
and this is the 14th day of the ADVENT season.
“HO, HO, HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins, or were announced in church services:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’ The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (NAB Lk 1:49-55)
Again, we have the theme of the mighty God corresponding to the lowly servant of young Mary. This last half of the Magnificat, is further example that nothing is impossible for those who fear God. What does ‘fear of God’ mean. The Islamic religion teaches God is a diety to be actually feared, and seen as a ‘ruler.’ I see God as a loving and magnificent diety, wanting His children to be with Him, in paradise. In other words, I see Him more as a father than as a ruler. Fathers sometimes have to be strong, direct, and possibly even angry; but fathers also need to be caring, supportive, and humorous at times as well. I believe the “fear” talked about in the Magnificat is meant more towards respect, and exaltation, more than actually meaning ‘making afraid.’
In talking about the hungry against the rich, was Mary talking about Israel (as a whole) versus the gentiles, or just the Jewish Christian population at odds with the gentile people? Or, could it mean the poor and sick versus the healthy, proud, and arrogant? I really don’t know: it could be all three examples. I believe there is too much materialism in this world today. I think God wants us all to be good stewards of our earth, and of all creation on this earth, including the human race. I also believe we will be judged on these issues at our final judgement.
No covenants with God ever expire, that I know of. God has though, swept away the old and built anew, such as with the stories of Adam and Eve, and Noah’s Ark. God can build anew, upon the promises of Abraham. He is doing this, through Jesus, as redemptive suffering was needed to reclaim God’s peoples.
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #12:
Witnessing to the good yet to come and obligated to acquire purity of heart because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and their brothers and sisters.