Message: If you are feeling downcast, discouraged, come to Mary.
With the Fourth Sunday of Advent we are in the final week before Christmas. Our theme is: Are you missing out? Jesus warns that by distraction we may miss out on the greatest event - the salvation Jesus offers us. Salvation, we saw, means receiving Divine Mercy. For sure, we cannot receive mercy apart from justice. Opening our hearts to mercy and justice - as we learned last week - brings joy.
It only makes sense. Fr Bob Spitzer observes that he has never known a grateful man who is unhappy. Nor has he known an ungrateful man who *is* happy. Gratitude for God's multi-faceted mercy brings happiness - joy.
This weekend we see the most grateful woman in human history. She says, "My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my Savior." I think you know who I mean. Mary.
I don't want you to miss out on Mary. She is the New Eve. The Letter to Hebrews tells us that Jesus - the New Adam - came to do God's will. Mary - the New Eve - says, "Let it be done to me according to your will.
We saw last week how anger against God - or anger against his will - can rob a person of joy. Mary did not have have an easy life. Far from it - but she embraced God's will. She was full of joy.
It's interesting that Moslems also recognize this. The Quran presents Mary as pure and sinless, that is, someone who always obeyed God's will. Mary can help us find peace in our world today. On January the First we observe World Day of Peace. It is also the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. So we ask a woman important to both Moslems and Christian to pray for us, to find a path to peace.
Do not miss out on Mary. It is true that Jesus is the most important to us. He is everything. Perhaps we can express it this way: Jesus is like the sun and Mary is like the moon. Her glory is to reflect the light of Jesus. Without the sun we would soon die. But the moon also plays an important role. And how much great poetry and great beauty we would miss without the moon? Not to mention, honeymoons and lunacy. :)
There's bad lunacy and good lunacy. Perhaps you saw the National Geographic program on Mary. For sure, some have used Marian devotion to go off the rails. At the same time Mary brings many people to an almost tangible relationship to Jesus.
In our Gospel we see a powerful reason not to miss out on Mary. Elizabeth exclaims: "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" This was the reaction of St. Juan Diego when Mary appeared to him. Using his own idiom he addressed her as "mi jovencita, mi hija la mas pequena." My young lady, my daughter, the littlest of my daughters. These words signify both respect and affection. And she said to him, "mi hijo el mas pequeno, no temas." My son, my smallest son, do not fear.
You know, you and I are little people. If we remembered that, how much useless anguish would we avoid? Recently a guy came to me all upset because of something President Obama said. I told him, "We are little people. Our job is to pray for the president." Sure, we can vote, send a letter, even join a political party. But overall we will still be little people.
I don't know about you, but I would feel great to hear Mary call me her littlest son. Our Lady of Guadalupe shows that Mary gives preference to the child neglected, hurting and humbled. If you are feeling downcast, discouraged, come to Mary.
This Christmas I will invite people to come to Jesus. Bring your family members and friends. Ask Mary to help you. Pope Francis puts it this way, "The Virgin Mary, 'cause of our joy' always brings us back to joy in the Lord, who comes to free us from so many interior and exterior slaveries."
We can make a new beginning in Jesus. We will see that at Christmas Mass. And as we enter 2016 we will take this theme: A new year, a new beginning. It's easier than you think. Come to Mary. Come to Jesus Amen.
Plan for this series:
From Archives (Homily for Third Sunday of Advent, Year C):
Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
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Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru