December 12, 2022
by Larry Gillick S.J.
Creighton University's The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of our Lady Guadalupe
Lectionary: 690A

Zechariah 2:14-17
Judith 13:18BCDE, 19
Luke 1:26-38

Praying Advent Home Page

Pope Francis on this day-2014

Elizabeth Remembers
A Parent Reflects on Joseph & Mary

Story of Our Lady's appearance at Guadalupe

In December of 1531 five different appearances by Mary of Nazareth began to Juan Diego, a young man of Mexico.
The stories of these miracles and the struggles of the official Church to accept them as real, form a fascinating retelling worth the reading.

There are many books centering on these revelations as well as information concerning art, persons, dates and Mary’s requests can easily be found on Wikipeedia.

Fascinating as well is these days of Advent and the Scriptures assisting us with our longings and questions. We hear an interesting conversation between the Jewish authorities centering around Jesus’ actions, teachings and where He gets His authority.

The religious leaders during the time of Jesus retained a skill, an art of asking good questions, debating and usually settling on one or more possible answers. In one class this week, one of our students expressed a kind of anger at Jesus’ refusal often to give straight clear answers. She herself had some good questions for Him, and me, but did not find Jesus complying with her intelligent requests. Believe me, our attempt at answering did not defuse her spiritual agitation.

Earlier in this same chapter Jesus has entered Jerusalem on a donkey with great recognition and celebration. He then dismounts and heads for the holy dwelling place, the Temple and drives out the buyers and sellers with a strength not usually experienced in such a sacred building. What we read inĀ  today’s liturgy is a few lines of the rabbi’s wanting to just know where Jesus gets, not His strength, but His “authority” or basis for doing these strange deeds. The question for us might be about their motive for asking and Jesus’ motive for not directly answering.

They want some kind of certificate or other sign that they can then discredit; it is all the rabbinic form. They are skilled in the performance and so is Jesus. It is meant for information as well as entertainment. Jesus, remember, is standing as the New Revelation by God, in the very sanctuary of the former Revelation through the Exodus. There is the spirit of reformation, realinement, re-covenating. Actually the elders and Pharicees are and have been threatened deeply by this replacement of their authority, and this is the tension. So enjoy how Jesus handles their subtle, but real, attack by listening or reading the rest of today’s Gospel.

Where is Advent for us here today? We might have questions about Mary’s appearing in Mexico and why not around here? Why did not Jesus just tell them that His authority is divine and comes from His Father? Why? Why? Why? This word is the third one little children learn with which to entertain and annoy parents and that word lies right below the surface of our spirits and minds, even in our older years.

When a little one hears a good answer, it creates a second and third use of the big three-letter power word. Advent? It is a time for longing and praying with our very personal and good questions and we wish that somebody, Mary, St. Juan Diego, somebody could help us let go of the Big W word which is exactly what Jesus is offering His questioners. Stand proudly with your questions and kneel humbly with your longing, emptiness and faith. Happy asking Advent!

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