Dec 9 – Memorial for St. Juan Diego, hermit, layman
John (1474-1548) was born an impoverished free man in a strongly class-conscious society. He was a farm worker, a field labourer, and a mat maker. He became a married layman with no children. Even as a pagan, he was a mystical and religious man and became an adult convert to Christianity at around age 50, taking the name Juan Diego. He was widowed in 1529.
He was a visionary to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Guadalupe on 9 December 1531, leaving him the image known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. On 20 December 2001, a second miracle attributed to Juan Diego’s intervention was decreed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and was approved by Pope John Paul II. He was canonized on 31 July 2002.
- Patron Saint Index
Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you,
I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments,
your happiness would have been like a river,
your integrity like the waves of the sea.
Your children would have been numbered like the sand,
your descendants as many as its grains.
Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.
Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
“We played the pipes for you,
and you wouldn’t dance;
we sang dirges,
and you wouldn’t be mourners.”
‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’
“Anyone who follows you, Lord, will have the light of life.”
~ Responsorial Psalm
Today’s readings help us to go deeper as we reflect on our frailties and weaknesses. We are hardly contented nor grateful for what we have, usually seeking more. More often than not, we seek the things and pleasures of this world. But there are also times where we feel unworthy, put ourselves down, where we lose our self-esteem. “What is good enough?”, “What do I live for?” are the questions we ask ourselves, but, if in the context of the world and its pleasures and desires, there will never be an answer, for our answer will continuously change as we seek to have everything yet always feel empty.
Even in the context of our faith where we desire to seek Christ. Are those just words or are we actively seeking? How are we seeking Him? Where are we seeking Him? The Gospel today talks about how we have differing opinions of who and how we think God is, what God should be doing and so on. Many times we’ve unknowingly played God while trying to seek Him.
God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to be with us, the sign we all wanted, an example we all could learn and follow, for us to fully trust and believe. But all we did was to nail Him to the cross and crucify Him. And even then, He still sends us the Holy Spirit.
The truth is, we need to acknowledge that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We desire to seek Christ, but only in certain areas of our lives. We lack wisdom. The first reading then gives us an insight as to what we need to do; not just what we want, but what we really need and are searching for — happiness, integrity, belonging and to be loved.
Let us desire this wisdom as we prepare ourselves. That we may be true witnesses of Christ, not just by word but by our actions, our way of life. Let us focus on the things that last, to cherish those that God has placed in our lives, especially those that money can’t buy. With this wisdom, let us now ask ourselves, “What is good enough? What do I live for?”
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for the gift of wisdom, that we may learn to discern our actions and desires in order that we may seek you intentionally, to know as well as to lead all to you.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your Word, for your inspiration and your grace. Continue to speak to us in your own special way. Thank you for showing us the way, for being patient and for loving us unconditionally. Amen.