By Archbishop Jose H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles

This past Sunday I had the joy of meeting with thousands of you and your families in East Los Angeles for the 86th annual procession and Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It was a beautiful way to start the Advent: a celebration of faith and hope, strength and solidarity.

And it made me reflect on our Christian faith can always live with joy even in times of uncertainty and difficulty.

In our Sunday celebration many young people and families living under the threat of deportation, caught in the web of a system of poor immigration and are awaiting Congress decides the fate of the program deferred action for Arrived in part Children (DACA for its acronym in English).

However, there was a joy because we know that Our Lady of Guadalupe with us on this journey we call life. In fact, this procession in East Los Angeles was initiated several decades ago by families fleeing religious persecution worst ever witnessed in the Americas.

These refugee families became pillars of our community and in the midst of their difficulties and losses, his example still shows us the way. They found hope and grace to turn to the Mother of God.

Reading the news these days, it may seem that we are living in times full of challenges and confusion.

Christ’s disciples are always called to live, work and carry out our mission amid anxieties own time or place in which we live.

This is one of the silent lessons of Advent and Christmas season.

Read and reflect again on the beginning of the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. You can see here how the “biographies” of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were shaped by the politics and history of their nation.

A government decision, the census, caused the journey that brought them to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. The king fears and ambitions for power changed their lives, forcing them to flee the country as refugees.

Mary is at the center of history. And she’s in the heart of Advent.

As we do during each Advent, this week we celebrate the Immaculate Conception, which marks the beginning of our salvation. Three days after that, we remember his appearance of Guadalupe, which marks the beginning of history in America and reminds us of its continued role in God ‘s plan of salvation.

Our world is not a chaos of passengers events. God is always God and his love is always at work, no matter what is happening in our society or the world.

Mary surrendered completely to God ‘s plan and his “yes” to God, it gives us an example on how to find joy in these times in which we live.

What God asked Mary had never asked anyone before: bring in his bosom Him who was to be the savior of his people and the entire human race. She was asked to do that, no matter the sacrifices that would mean in your life.

Every step of his life with Christ required that Mary “rowed offshore” as Jesus told his apostles to do so.

She had to face her fears of the unknown, fear of God where it might take later. I had to leave all their priorities and plans, she had to leave everything they wished for life.

Reflecting on Mary this week, I found myself remembering the words Santa Isabel said in his visitation: “Blessed are you who believed itmight be fulfilled which was spoken to you by the Lord”.

This is how we can rejoice even in times when God’s purposes seem mysterious, challenging or difficult to accept.

We find God’s blessings when we, when we opened the door of our hearts and we welcome Jesus, when we trust His Word shows us the way forward for our lives.

Belief in God does not mean that all the sadness and suffering have disappeared.

But the more trust in the loving will of God to us, the more we will find the strength and courage we need to address anything that comes our way on the road knowing we are not alone, that God is with us in the mystery of his love .

So in this first week of Advent, pray for me; I’ll be praying for you.

And try to follow Mary more closely, because no one on earth was more united to Jesus, no one knew better than Mary.

Our Blessed Mother that always go with us to guide us to an encounter with Jesus, which is what brings us true joy. VN

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