Homily – Northwest Catholic Men’s Conference - Catholic Action For Faith and Family

Homily – Northwest Catholic Men’s Conference

February 26, 2011 :: Cardinal Raymond Burke Leave a Comment


First Reading: Is 39:1-3, 5-6 Responsorial Psalm: Ps 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17, 18 Gospel: Lk1:26-38


Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever. Amen. Today’s readings teach us the great Mystery of Faith, witnessed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice in which we now take part. God the Son has taken our human flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. God Himself has taken a human heart under Mary’s Immaculate Heart, in order that He might suffer and die for our salvation, in order that He might receive our hearts into His glorious Heart, His Heart which was pierced as He died for us on the Cross. His name is Jesus, for He is the salvation of God in our midst, and “of his kingdom there will be no end.”[1] By Mary’s obedient response to the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel, God the Son made His dwelling in her womb for the salvation of the world. By our obedient response to the announcement of His saving presence with us in the Church, above all in the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Penance, God the Son makes His dwelling within us for the transformation of our world, in preparation for His Final Coming, when He will establish “a new heaven and a new earth.”[2] Through the Redemptive Incarnation, the great Mystery of Faith, “a child is born to us, a son is given us,” who bears, in truth, the names of “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”[3] Our Lord Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of God’s Word given through the Prophet Isaiah, is alone the light which dispels the darkness of sin and death, bringing us “abundant joy and great rejoicing.”[4] He “confirms and sustains” His kingdom in our midst “by judgment and justice, both now and forever.”[5] With the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are called to give ourselves totally to Christ for the sake of the new evangelization, so that Christ may be known and loved and served, so that Christ, in His unceasing thirst for souls and their eternal salvation, may reach many hearts. In America, in a particular way, we call upon the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, and we seek to imitate her faithful announcement of the truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ alone. Christ desires us to be, with Mary, His instruments of eternal life for our brothers and sisters. Since He desires us, we are called, like Mary, to give up all earthly attachments, in order that Christ may possess our hearts fully for His saving mission. As we celebrate a conference for men in the Church, we venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, uniting our hearts to her own Immaculate Heart, so that we may place them ever more completely into the glorious Sacred Heart of Jesus. Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray that we, as men, may become ever more like her faithful messenger, Saint Juan Diego. All of us know the labor and burden of daily life in Christ, the labor and burden of turning away, each day, from sin in our lives, in order that we may turn to Christ, offering our lives to Him in pure and selfless love. We also know, thanks to the generous gift of God’s grace in our souls, the truth of Our Lord’s promise that, in the midst of the struggle to live faithfully for Him, we find rest in His glorious pierced Heart which is ever open to receive us. We find that rest, most of all, in the Holy Eucharist, in the lifting up of our hearts to His glorious pierced Heart as He faithfully makes present for us the outpouring of His life for us on Calvary. Although we struggle, in order to follow Christ faithfully, we discover, in the struggle, the truth of Our Lord’s reassuring words: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”[6] Although we experience difficulty in resisting the temptation to sin and in giving up our own pleasure and convenience for the sake of loving selflessly God and our neighbor, we find, in the elevation of our hearts to Christ, deep and abiding joy and peace, the joy and peace which are an anticipation of the eternal joy and peace which Our Lord has prepared for us in our lasting home of Heaven. It is, most of all, in His Eucharistic Sacrifice that Our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son Incarnate, reveals to us all that the Father wishes us to know about Him and His plan for our eternal salvation. When we, with humble trust, lift up our poor, doubting and sinful hearts to Our Lord, He receives them into His Sacred Heart. In His glorious pierced Heart, He purifies our hearts of sin and fills them with His unceasing and immeasurable love, so that we, in turn, may love God and our neighbor faithfully and unconditionally. Saint Juan Diego, the faithful messenger of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows us the way to place our hearts into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to know the love of God for us, above all, in the Holy Eucharist, and to respond to His love with love of Him and of our neighbor. Saint Juan Diego shows us the way to Christ, which he learned at the feet of the Mother of God, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Saint Juan Diego teaches us to imitate his example of childlike trust in the Mother of God and her Divine Son by heeding the admonitions of the inspired author of the Book of Sirach:

Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God…. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. What is committed to you, attend to; ….[7]

As the Holy Scriptures teach us, it is enough for us to know that we are doing God’s will. Our attention must be directed to what God has committed to us, to our vocation in life and our particular work in the world. Other concerns distract us from our life in Christ and uselessly consume time and energy which should be devoted to living our vocation and to fulfilling the responsibilities of our work. Consider the humility and trust which Saint Juan Diego demonstrated in carrying out the mission confided to him by Our Lady of Guadalupe. He naturally questioned his abilities to accomplish what Our Lady was asking; he was a simple man and judged himself to be out of place in bringing the important request of the Mother of God to the Bishop. When, at first, he seemed to fail in carrying out the mission and when he was soon faced with the grave illness of his uncle, he asked Our Lady to choose a different messenger and even tried to avoid her in order to delay doing what she was asking. Before these temptations, Our Lady assured him that he was her chosen messenger. Listen to her words to him, which are unmistakable in their meaning:

But it is very necessary that you plead my cause and, with your help and through your mediation, that my will be fulfilled.[8]

Regarding his worry about the grave illness of his uncle, Juan Bernardino, Our Lady assured him that she was watching over him, protecting him, and interceding for him. Listen once again to her words:

Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?[9]

Saint Juan Diego, trusting in the words of the Mother of God, abandoned himself to doing everything that she was asking of him, challenging and difficult as the mission was. By humbly attending to Our Lady’s instructions, he brought a great blessing to his uncle and to all the people. The blessing of his cooperation with the will of God, as it was made known to him by Our Lady of Guadalupe, continues to reach us today, as we honor him, strive to imitate him, and ask the help of his prayers. Through the good services of Saint Juan Diego, the mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe was accomplished. Bishop Juan de Zumárraga received her message, confirmed by the miracle of the roses and by the far greater miracle of the divine writing of her image on Juan Diego’s tilma. The Bishop built the shrine in which Our Lady has spoken and continues to speak to the hearts of her sons and daughters about her Divine Son, the fountain of God’s ceaseless and immeasurable mercy and love toward us, especially in the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Penance. Through our spiritual friendship with Saint Juan Diego, we are led to Our Lady of Guadalupe who, in turn, leads us to the Heart of her Divine Son. Striving to imitate the example of Saint Juan Diego’s humility and trust, we draw ever closer to the Mother of God who intercedes for us, that we may do God’s will in all things. Through our spiritual friendship with the Virgin of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego, we are inspired and strengthened to know the truth about our life in Christ, taught to us by Saint Paul. God indeed has chosen us whom the world may consider to be foolish, lowly and weak, in order that those who consider themselves to be wise, noble and strong might know and love Christ Who alone is “for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification and redemption.”[10] Following the example of Saint Juan Diego, placing ourselves with trust into the all-loving arms of the Virgin of Guadalupe, let us now, in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, place our hearts into the glorious, pierced Heart of Jesus. Uniting our hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in His Eucharistic Sacrifice, we will find the rest and strength we need to be humble and obedient in doing all that God asks of us. May Saint Juan Diego intercede for us, that we, Catholic men, may be faithful and generous messengers of Our Lady of Guadalupe.   Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in You, have mercy on us! Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us! Saint Juan Diego, pray for us! Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

[1] Lk 1:31 and 33.

[2] Rv 21:1.

[3] Is 9:5.

[4] Is 9:2.

[5] Is 9:6.

[6] Mt 11:30.

[7] Sir 3:18, and 21-22.

[8] Nican Mopohua, no. 59.

[9] Nican Mopohua, no. 119.

[10] 1 Cor 1:30.


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