Day 16 — Monday, December 12, 2022

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
stir up your might
and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
Then we shall not turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call upon your name!

Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
Let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19

Today it is so easy for us to walk our faith on the weekends. We wake with alarms, step into the embrace of warm showers, clothe ourselves in comfort we didn’t have to weave, are nourished by food prepared with the miracle of indoor ovens, and drive to our places of worship. It hasn’t always been so simple.   

On this day in my faith tradition, we remember a pivotal event that occurred nearly 500 years ago in Mexico. The Spanish had been busily carrying out their Conquest for over a decade and the native Mesoamericans were dying in such numbers from European diseases and war that they believed it was the end of the world. It is in this context, in 1531, that we meet St. Juan Diego, a humble Aztec man and new Christian. He arose every morning before dawn to walk 15 miles into Mexico City to attend Mass and faith formation classes. This man was hungry for the Lord in a real, gritty, walk-through-the-desert-in-the-dark kind of way.

In a series of remarkable encounters in December, he was visited by Mary, who urged him to build a church closer to his home so that more people could come to the Lord and learn about him. This new church made Jesus more accessible to more people, and in the end, this meeting brought millions of people to the faith. 

So today, on this Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we remember that the path to a relationship with the Lord is often begun with early mornings, long journeys, and the courage to keep moving forward. Like the writer of today’s psalm, and all conquered peoples, we may sometimes feel lost, but we are strengthened in the knowledge during this season of preparation, that Light is coming.

Melissa Mulder is an assistant professor of Spanish instruction at Hope College.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to daily Advent emails

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *