Saturday, December 11, 2010



Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Information about the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe[1]

Readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe[2]

Readings and Commentary:

Reading 1:
Zechariah 2:14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

Commentary on
Zec 2:14-17

This first selection from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah predicts the coming of the Messiah. It provides a rather unique glimpse at the messianic expectation – He comes to unify and bring security to the faithful. This passage also demonstrates the “true man, true God” essence of the Lord by first saying “I am coming to dwell among you” followed by “Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the Lord! For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.”

Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.”

Commentary on
Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

John’s Book of Revelation provides an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary who is Queen of Heaven. In the passage, the eschatological symbolism shows Mary giving birth to her son, Jesus. It also depicts Satan, who, knowing the nature of the Lord, puts forces in motion to destroy the child. This portrayal, with images taken from Genesis, and symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel, shows the Christ being born of Mary, and recalls her flight to Egypt. The dragon (which is the first symbol to be depicted) represents the secular governments at the time, Herod and Rome. The final verse of the passage proclaims Jesus as the Christ,his Anointed One.

CCC: Rv 12 1138
Responsorial Psalm:
Judith 13:18bcde, 19

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.

Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.

R. You are the highest honor of our race.

Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race. 
Commentary on: Judith 13:18bcde, 19

This short hymn of praise from Judith (who at the time of its writing represented the faithful people) is predictive of the blessed role Mary will play in human salvation. In the story immediately preceding these verses Judith offers to sacrifice herself for salvation and is here found praiseworthy for her willingness to do so.

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Commentary on
Lk 1:26-38

This passage, from St. Luke’s Gospel, is the story of Mary being informed by the Archangel Gabriel that she has been chosen for the great privilege of bearing the Savior of the World. St. Mary graciously accepts this honor, although with very human fear, indicating that her free will is at play. This response makes her obedience to God’s will more powerful. It is proposed that, with this acceptance, Mary entered into a vow of perpetual virginity because of the demands of Isaiah 7:14 : “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

In St. Luke’s story of the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her she will bear a son and names him Jesus (the eternal implication of this statement is made clear in the greeting which presupposes knowledge of Mary’s entire existence). Mary confirms the title “Virgin” given by the author as she questions Gabriel saying: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” Even though she does not understand, Mary accepts her role and is told that the Holy Spirit will be the agent of the life within her. She then utters those amazing words: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

This announcement is parallel to Zechariah’s news about John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-23), which is also delivered by the Angel Gabriel. This passage clearly identifies Jesus as Son of David and Son of God, thus linking it with the messianic predictions from the Old Testament.

CCC: Lk 1:26-38 497, 706, 723, 2571; Lk 1:26-27 488; Lk 1:26 332; Lk 1:28-37 494; Lk 1:28 490, 491; Lk 1:31 430, 2812; Lk 1:32-33 709; Lk 1:32 559; Lk 1:34 484, 497, 505; Lk 1:35 437, 484, 486, 697; Lk 1:37-38 494; Lk 1:37 148, 269, 273, 276; Lk 1:38 64, 148, 510, 2617, 2677, 2827, 2856
Luke 1:39-47

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

Commentary on
Lk 1:39-47

The story of Mary’s meeting with Elizabeth following the annunciation by Gabriel that she would carry the Son of God proclaims the coming of the Lord and the faith of Mary before the nativity event. We note that Elizabeth is first to identify Jesus as Lord as she says” …how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” She not only professes the identity of the infant but foreshadows Mary’s leadership standing, elevating the stature of her much younger cousin with reverence. Elizabeth continues her praise of Mary by establishing that her (Mary’s) faith had allowed her to accept even the incredible role God had offered her.

In response we hear Mary’s humility as she begins with the opening verse of the Magnificat “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”


The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe gives us the opportunity once more to prayerfully consider the role of Mary, the Mother of God in Christ, her Son’s, mission. We recall the story of how she came to Juan Diego as he reached the base of the hill known as Tepeyac that first time the Holy Mother came to him. We see in her the apostolate to which we are all called. She points steadfastly at her Son, infusing those who hear her voice with the love of God.

In this Advent season when scripture so urgently points us to the Kingdom of God, the kingdom to come (“Thy kingdom come”), the first saint, the Queen of Heaven, points the way to that end. She is not only the herald of things to come, but provides us with an attitude of humility and obedience to God’s will that opens the door to our own possibilities as servants of Christ.

In the second Gospel option, we hear Mary respond to the praise of Elizabeth who says what we feel, “Mary you are so full of grace, so exalted among all humanity how can we even come to you?” And how does the Mother of God respond as her elder holds her up and places her above all humanity? She begins with an abject and profound statement of love and faith in God. She fairly sings her tremendous love for Him “My soul proclaims (Magnifies) the greatness of the Lord” Her very being is dedicated to the Father “My spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

She refuses the crown on earth, but instead professes her obedience to the one God and to His will that she be the vessel of His greatest gift. Perhaps it is because she was free from original sin that she could so perfectly respond to God and later to her cousin. Whatever the reason, she is the model of faith to which we all subscribe and attempt to emulate. We thank God for placing her active witness among us, a constant reminder of the great love Her Son has for us. She faithfully points us to the Advent of our Lord and we pray our response to Him, when he comes again, will be as faithful as the one we see in His Mother


[1] The picture used today is “Our Lady of Guadalupe” the artist of this traditional rendition was not cited. 
[3] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only. 

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