On Dec. 12, many throughout the world will join our Mexican brothers and sisters to celebrate the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. Pope John Paul II named her Mother of the Americas.
Our Lady of Guadalupe came during a time when people were in need of much hope. She appeared to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill. Later on Our Lady appeared in an image on the tilma of St. Juan Diego, in front of Mexico's Bishop Zumarraga. The miracle of this image can be seen today in the basilica built on Tepeyac Hill. Our Lady of Guadalupe has converted and given hope to millions throughout the world.
It is probably no coincidence that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared during the time that the Church celebrates Advent, the season of hope, followed by joy. It is the new year of the Church. Advent gives all families the opportunity to look at how we are building the house that God has given us to construct. It is a season of new beginnings, conversion, forgiveness, hope, love and joy. Try not to give into the temptations and the stresses of this materialistic world to buy a lot of stuff. Take time to sit with your family, pray, open the Scriptures, sing, talk and listen to one another. This is the greatest gift you can give your family. Make the Scripture come alive for you, your family and everyone that comes around.
As the old song says, "They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love." You are constructing your family to become more Christlike and you are building a closer relationship with Christ. Advent gives us the opportunity to do our annual check up. Advent is that time to stand back, meditate, through prayer on how to receive Christ.
How can we begin first with our individual family to be more like Christ for others? December is a time of year known as a season of giving to others. For example many collect food and toys and give to families who are in need. The collections and distributions are done in churches, schools and various other organizations. Other examples of bringing Christ could be visiting a family member who is sick, visiting the elderly at nursing homes, running errands for those who do not have transportation, or it may be helping young single mothers or fathers who need some free time. Your family can come up with various creative ways of helping and giving hope to others.
For more information, call the Office of Cultural Diversity, 716-847-2217.