(Optional) Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
(Isaiah 40:25-31; Matthew 11:28-30)
The story of St. Juan Diego parallels today’s readings. The Mexican native convert was on his way to mass outside the City of Mexico. The decline of the number of his people with the arrival of the Spanish no doubt weighed on his heart. On the journey Juan Diego was stopped by a beautiful woman near the top of Tepeyac hill. She sent him to the bishop of the city with the request that a chapel be built on the hill. Doing as directed, Juan Diego eventually witnessed a sign that the vision was no fantasy. Being told to bring roses to the bishop, the native was surprised to find them growing in the December cold. When he released them from his mantle before the bishop, the roses left the Virgin of Guadalupe’s image.
Today’s first reading from Isaiah shows a spirited prophet addressing a people repressed like native Mexicans. Jerusalem’s exiles have suffered in Babylon for sixty years. But their time for liberation is at hand. For some, however, it is an offering too good to be true. They wonder if they have the energy to return home. The prophet assures them that the Lord will be their strength. The gospel confirms God’s assistance. Humble people can always look to him for comfort and peace. He will provide for them in need.
We should look to the Lord for consolation and assistance. Covid has worn many people down. Perhaps more daunting, however, believers are readily dismissed today as fantasizers. Many find Christian worship as inconsequential and even counterproductive. Undefeated, we turn to the Lord for strength and vindication. There is no need to doubt. The Lord has come to save us.