One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

December 12, 2007

For the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, 12 December

Luke 1:39-47

The Gospel today says when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, and Elizabeth confessed the presence of God.
Why is this granted me, that the mother of my LORD should come to me?
Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice.
The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth.
Elizabeth shouted out her faith in God.
There is a second place in the New Testament where Mary’s voice is instrumental in the Holy Spirit’s filling someone and bringing him to faith.
After the ascension of Christ, the apostles waited for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.
With one accord they devoted themselves to prayer together with Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary who already received the Holy Spirit in Nazareth years before.
The prayer of Mary called down the Holy Spirit to fill the Church of the Apostles.
Because of prayer with Mary, the apostles received the Holy Spirit of the Father, the Holy Spirit coming through the Son to the children of the Father.
Immediately, that same day, the Spirit-filled preaching of the apostles won over three thousand souls to the baptism of Jesus.
In the Word of God [Rev. 22:17] the last revelation of the Holy Spirit is also the last revelation of Mary and of the Church, and the last invocation of Jesus before his return.
The Spirit and the Bride say [to Jesus], “Come.
In today’s Gospel, the body of Mary bears the Son of God in flesh and blood, and the voice of Mary ushers in the Holy Spirit who fills Elizabeth.
There is a pattern in all these Spirit events.
Mary is the flesh and blood of Jesus, and she lifts up her voice for others.
The Spirit fills them.
They confess the faith.
That pattern is the heart of the Church’s devotion to Mary.
The Word of the Lord says the prayer of the saints rises like incense in the presence of God.
We pray for each other.
We trust that the saints who have gone before us also pray for us.
We pray with Mary, the apostles, and all the saints that the Holy Spirit may fill us, so that we may serve God in Christ and bring others to faith and baptism.
Today in the Gospel, Mary visits the hill-country home of Elizabeth.
Mary lifts up her voice.
The Holy Spirit rushes upon Elizabeth.
Elizabeth confesses her faith in the Lord God whom Mary is already carrying in her body.
We celebrate today the four hundred and seventy-sixth anniversary of similar mysterious events that took place [A.D. 1531] in the hills of Mexico City.
By the year 1531, the Gospel had been in Mexico only about ten years.
The Spanish conquistadores, “conquerors,” had brought the Gospel, but they also brought the conquering sword.
It may have seemed the end of the world for the Indians.
There were very few Christian conversions among the Indians in those first years.
Then in 1531, a Christian Indian named Juan Diego met Mary on Tepeyac Hill at the edge of Mexico City.
She spoke of her motherly love for Juan Diego and her sincere respect for his dignity in the sight of God.
She spoke to him of Christ her son.
She lifted up her voice on behalf of the Gospel.
Then the work of the Holy Spirit in Mexico really began to blossom like roses after a ten-year “winter” of nearly fruitless Spanish missionary work.
Within forty years after Juan Diego heard and saw Mary, practically all of Mexico’s Indians had freely accepted baptism.
Mary had sent Juan Diego, an Indian, to ask the Spaniards for the building of a church, and thereby to ask for the growth of the Church that preaches the Gospel, baptizes souls, and worships God.
In those early years of Spanish conquest, the Indians could not help but identify the Church with Spanish might.
By contrast, Mary came to the Indian Juan Diego with tender love for him and great respect for his human dignity.
She did speak one and only one stern word to him.
In the language of the Aztec Indians, she called herself COATLAXOPEUH [pronounced like: “kwatlasúpe”], which means “Serpent-Crusher.”
Giving herself this violent name, Mary trampled the bloody Aztec religion with a prophecy from the Book of Genesis.
The highest idol of the Aztecs was Quetzalcóatl, “Feather Serpent,” to which they offered up often non-stop human sacrifice.
Calling herself Coatlaxopeuh, “Serpent-Crusher,” Mary echoed the words God spoke to the serpent in the book of Genesis [3:15].
I will put enmity between you and the woman whose seed shall crush your head.
The Spanish thought Coatlaxopeuh sounded like Guadalupe, the name of a river and a city with a shrine of Mary in Spain.
Maria Coatlaxopeuh, “Mary the Serpent-Crusher.”
She named herself the destroyer of Aztec idolatry and human sacrifice.
By contrast, her gentleness and open respect for Juan Diego were authentic signs of God’s esteem for the Indians and their dignity.
Mary brought the Gospel in her unique and most convincing way.
At the sound of Mary’s voice, the Holy Spirit quickly filled Mexico with the baptism of Jesus through the building of the Church.
May the prayers of Mary Serpent-Crusher, Saint Juan Diego, the apostles, and all the saints call down the Spirit upon us, that we may be free of evil to live ever more faithfully in the Church of Jesus as sons and daughters of God our Father.

That God Be Glorified in All


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