How Does This Happen to Me?

(Homily for Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C)

On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we read John’s vision of the heavens opening, revealing the Ark of the Covenant (Rev. 11:19). In the very next verse the vision morphs into “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” By reading today’s Gospel carefully we can understand what John is getting at.

The woman of Revelation gives birth to a male child, destined to rule all the nations, who is caught up to God and his throne (12:5). The child of course is the one St. Luke writes about today. His presence causes another unborn baby (John the Baptist) to leap in his mother’s womb – like David leaped before the Ark (2 Sam 6:13). And his mother Elizabeth says something similar to what David said when the Ark came to Jerusalem: How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Lk 1:43, cf. 2 Sam 6:9)

Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant. The ancient Ark held the presence of God, but she carries within her womb the incarnate God.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe illustrates this biblical teaching. Rays of light stream from behind the image and the Lady stand on a crescent. Thus she is clothed with sun, having the moon at her feet. Below her hands is a black ribbon, indicating pregnancy. She brings Jesus to the peoples of the Americas.

In these final days before Christmas, we accompany Mary in her journey to Bethlehem. There is something radiant about a woman in the days before she gives birth. In spite of her discomfort, even apprehension, a sweetness radiates from her. How much more so the one who bore the world's creator!

For the ancient Israelites, the greatest joy of their lives was to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – the place where the Ark was kept. But, as John tells us, the Ark is now in heaven, blended forever with the woman clothed with sun, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us ask her heavenly prayers so that we might properly worship her Son.


Versión Castellana

From Archives (Homilies for Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C):

2009: A Biblical Prayer to Mary
2006: Only the Mother of Jesus?
2003: How Does This Happen to Me?
2000: Lost Ark Discovered

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Sharon, Christmas Masses, Lord of the Rings)


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Choice on Earth

From personal experience, I know that people write most passionately about virtues they wish they possessed. Mixed with jibes against his favorite betes noires, Fr. Andrew Greeley has some powerful reflections on forgiveness:

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