Presentation of Mary

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Here is a recycled post from 5-years ago:

According to tradition the childless Joachim and Anne, received a message from an angel that they would have a child. In fulfilling a vow for the gift of their daughter, they brought the three year old Mary to the Jerusalem Temple so that she might be consecrated to God. Tradition tells that Mary remained in the Temple until twelve years of age, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian. The tradition also says that she remained in the temple to be educated in her role as the mother of God. The presentation of Mary reemphasizes the holiness of Mary as Mother of God, an importance commemorated by the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This memorial of the Presentation of Mary celebrates Mary’s dedication to God from her infancy, through the Holy Spirit, who filled her with grace at her immaculate conception. Mary’s role as mother of God did not begin with the Nativity of Christ, it begins with her immaculate conception and was strengthened at her temple presentation. In presenting herself to God and accepting Gods plan for her, she was able to accept the annunciation and all that follows. In that she is the image of church, the new temple. Through the presentation she accepted and prepared for her role as Mother of God. In a sense this is the beginning of Mary’s Advent as presenting oneself before God is the first step to receiving the Christ of the Nativity. Advent begins in 16-days.

Immaculate Mary (the Patroness of the United States), Juan Diego, and the Lost Sheep

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Here is a lightly read post from a few years back :

Sometimes what I find interesting is the clustering of readings, and saints, and seasons, memorials and feast days. It is looking at the liturgical calendar not as disconnected days, but as a continuous celebration. Yesterday it was the feast if the Immaculate Conception, today Juan Diego, and today the gospel of Jesus going for the lost sheep.

For the Immaculate Conception, I can ponder its teaching of Mary conceived without the stain of original sin, and I can think of Mary as the Patron of a new “immaculate world.” Mary, the model of the new Eve is also patron of a New World. Into that New World comes the European missionaries who carry Christ across the seas, as Mary carried Christ in her womb. The fruit of those missionaries is Juan Diego, and through Juan comes a new title for Mary that is Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It is Immaculate Mary that is the model for Church, and it is that Church brings her Son to this new world. In that lies a mission, the Churches evangelical mission, and a responsibility; to bring Christ as Mary did which is to serve God and not our individual selfish needs. Immaculate Mary is indeed born without sin.

In thinking of that Immaculate Mary and the journey to the new world, I can also ponder in the back of my mind Jesus going after the lost sheep. In His journey for these sheep, many times he too journeyed by boat across the Sea of Galilee where he cured many, and conquered many demons. To go back to the boats of Europe sailing to the new world, I think did their mission emulate Jesus’s and did they faithfully follow the guidance of Immaculate Mary? That’s a complicated question, but in many ways they did work under the guidance of Mary of that title and many times they did not. Man is sinful, and bears that burden of original sin. Many times they brought their demons rather than chase them out, it’s the sinful nature of man.

The counter argument then is this; was the New World Immaculate before those Christian explorers arrived? Again, one for the scholars but I would guess not; they too were human and bore that stain of original sin. And then there is Juan Diego, caught between both those worlds who discovers Mary, Immaculate Mary in Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus saved a sheep through the intercession of his Mother. I wonder then as those Europeans who entered this New World, I wonder how many of them were brought salvation anew through their encounters with people like Juan Diego? It’s a ramble, and a journey. The truth though is that Immaculate Mary does the journey with us. She is present in the Old and the New World, and ever Immaculate to guide us on our little rambles through life.

Father Isaac Jogues, Father John de Brébeuf and their companions.

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“Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

In the Acts of the Apostles Luke tells of the beginning of the spreading of the New Testament throughout the ancient world. While spreading this gospel message had its difficulties, the Apostles were familiar with the variety of cultures and philosophies and languages of that day.It was the world they knew, even though it was about to undergo the miraculous transformation that is the New Testament. In the light of these Acts of the Apostles, ponder the “acts” of Father Isaac Jogues,  Father John de Brébeuf and their companions.

They were Jesuit Priests from France, bringing the New Testament to a new continent,and a new world of which they had no experience. North America of the 1600’s was entirely different from Europe. It was a vast wilderness sparsely colonised by small groups of Europeans. It’s indigenous peoples were so culturally different from  Europeans. The Iroquois and Huron Indians of New York and New England had a cultural lifestyle different from anything in Europe. Their language was totally unrelated from the languages of the Jesuits, and their clothing like nothing they had ever seen.

In Luke’s  Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles could present Christ to the pagans in their own language, and explain Christ to people with cultures and beliefs they knew. Saint Isaac Jogues did not have this luxury, yet knew these people were children of God and worthy of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Knowing that, they were determined to use every resource to deliver that message. In delivering that message they were tortured, and imprisoned. Isaac Jogues wrote of his torture: “These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense.” To prevent Fr. Jogues from consecrating the host his captors cut off several fingers. Escaping torture and being sent back to France, St. Jogues still had the need to deliver the gospel of Christ to these Indian people despite the language  and cultural barriers. Despite a hostile reception and despite torture.

In the return trip to the new world Fathers Isaac Jogues,  John de Brébeuf and their companions were eventually martyred. Yet in death, they were not defeated. Ten years later, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village where Isaac was martyred. She is Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, a young woman born of Indian heritage. Saint Kateri was also ridiculed for desiring to follow that gospel message Isaac Jogues and his companions had delivered. She is the Jesuit victory, the victory of Christ. Many of the Indian tribes, especially in eastern Maine, embraced that Gospel of Jesus delivered by  saints Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf ,and their companions; and they continue to follow that gospel today. Those Jesuits knew these indigenous people of a new world were children of God and worthy of the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Angels Gabriel,Michael ,Raphael

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“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Angels are important. They are the messengers of God. Without the angel Gabriel, would Mary have received the message that “the Lord is with you.” It is the angel Gabriel that tells Mary ” Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God” and it is the angel Gabriel who told Mary “and behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus” The Angel Gabriel said to Mary; The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Angels are important, and the messages they deliver are important. Angel Gabriel is the message of Gods strength. How often it was that Mary must have prayed for Gods strength, and how vigilant she must have been to receive Gods message and messenger. Through the messenger Gabriel Mary listens about of a child conceived by God, and that listening to Angels is important; if you don’t listen to the angel of God, then chances are you will fall prey to the messages of his opponent. Mary prayed to God and listened for Gods messenger, she awaited an Angel.

Gabriel is the angel “the strength of God”, an answer to prayers to Gods strength. Michael is the angel “who is like God”: Quis ut Deus! Michael battles Satin, the angel Michael is that of a warrior in search of an opponent, a protector and guardian. Prayers to Saint Michael the Archangel are for protection. Gabriel’s symbol is the horn delivering Gods message to Gods people, Michael’s is the sword for the defense of those people from the devil Satin.

The Angel Raphael is the message of Gods healing, or the prayer “God, please heal” and the message “God has healed.” From John, Chapter 5: “And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.” The angel is Raphael. As simply human, people make mistakes. As people in battle with a devil enemy, people fall in battle and are wounded. We are subject to human frailties, disobedient, sinful, and easily deceived; we are victims of our human nature. It is the angel Raphael who delivers the message of Gods healing.

Angels are important; they are the messengers of Gods strength, protection, and healing. Throughout the bible, both old and new testament, are encounters with Angels. In the ancient world they were attentive to the works of angels. Over time though the image of angels has shifted through art  and legend, cultural influences, and folklore that the theology of Angels can easily be obscured. That is sad because if the role of an angel becomes lost, there is always the danger that the message they are to deliver also might be lost; and the messages delivered by these messengers, Angels, are supremely important.

revisiting old wineskins

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To continue with the wedding of the third Epiphany, Jesus enters into a confrontation with the Pharisees regarding His Apostles and disciples noncompliance with Judaic law. In every marriage, it is not just the couple that enters into a union, it also is the couples “families.” The dialogue that is exchanged is not uncommon between in-laws. The exchange is proof of a wedding taking place, and what would a wedding be without family arguments?

Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.

Mk 2:18-22

The rest of this post was composed from a similar gospel, though from a different evangelist. At the time I hesitated to post this because it played large in the news.

September 4, 2015

Todays readings were all about old versus new; old cloth and new cloth, old and new wine, old and new wineskins, old and new testaments. Jesus declares His preaching’s as new, and not something grafted to, or amended onto older traditions. His is “a new creation.”

In reading these passages there is the message about how Jesus’s message relates to the religion of tradition, in reading these passages today there is some contemplation on the worlds contrasts and conflicts and comparisons. The news has been full of these. One contrast going on has been the enormous migration from the conflicts of the Mideast to the shores of Europe. It is the travel from an old land to new, and from conflict hopefully to peace. The movement from one culture to another. With this old wine poured into new wineskins, or new fabric attached to old; I cant help but wonder what will happen. It is not difficult to see the tension as Europe seeks to confront a crisis heaped upon them.

Lk 5:33-39

The pressures being placed on them are enormous, and heated disagreements on how to handle the crisis are bound to erupt. I hope though that those citizens of Europe remember their Christian heritage, and the good news of healing. I hope they are able to bring healing and comfort to a migrating people torn by war and violence. The contrasts and dissimilarities between East and West are historically legendary, hopefully this time around those differences will be lessened and they will come together in peace. Hopefully the pain and suffering will transform into something good, where old hostilities are be replaced with a new compassion and understanding.