Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This week we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12).
Fittingly, one of the Gospel options for the day is the Visitation (Luke 1:39-47).
Why is it fitting? Because at the Visitation, Mary brought Jesus to the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother’s womb — both recognizing and proclaiming the presence of the Savior. In a similar way — but in the dimension of history, rather than physically — Our Lady of Guadalupe brought Christ to the Americas, and the people of Mexico leapt for joy. Millions converted to the faith within a decade of the apparition.
In light of our celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, this would be a good question for us: How do we bring Christ to others in a way that makes them leap for joy?
There’s a simple liturgical gesture that often goes unnoticed but deserves some reflection: The Book of Gospels is carried in procession into Mass, and then at the end of Mass, it’s not carried back out. The omission is deliberate. Why is that?
One of the reasons that the Book of Gospels isn’t carried out is that the people, having received Christ in word and sacrament, are supposed to carry the Gospel out in themselves.
The question is, are we doing that as deliberately as we could?
I’m not going to propose that there’s only one way to do it. Think about the different charisms that people have; those charisms show that there are different ways to carry Christ’s life within ourselves. Think about different religious orders; those orders show that there are different ways to carry Christ into the world. Read the Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke; in God’s plan Joseph and Mary each have crucial — but very different — roles to play in providing a home for Christ in the world. All of that teaches a lesson: In God’s plan there’s tremendous freedom in how each of us can carry the Gospel into the world.
But if I’m not going to propose that there’s only one way to do it, I will propose that we haven’t been as deliberate as we might be in actually doing it. We haven’t done a good job carrying the Gospel out into the world — into our friendships, families, neighborhoods and workplaces. Ask yourself this question: When is the last time I had a real conversation with someone about their relationship with God or my relationship with God, outside of church?
One of our goals with All Things New is to become more deliberate about completing our part in the deliberate liturgical omission when the Book of Gospels is not carried out of the church. May we all become more like Our Lady of Guadalupe, bringing the Good News of Christ out to the world in ourselves.