Sermon from the Pontifical High Mass of Our Lady on Saturday in Advent 2022
on Dec 10, 2022
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe La Crosse, Wisconsin
Is 7, 10-15
Lk 1, 26-38
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
How much the Introit of today’s Mass of Our Lady in Advent speaks to our hearts: “Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above; and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.” How dry is the soil of the world, of our society, of our culture. We witness the spread of atheistic materialism, of the evil of communism against which Our Lady came to protect us at Fatima, in more and more nations. It is no less present in our own nation which has ceased to be God-fearing as our leaders advance a suicidal agenda against the integrity of Holy Matrimony and of its fruit, new human life in the family.
It is even present in the Church, within the household of the faith: on this past Thursday, 89 Catholics who serve in the House of Representatives of our nation voted to confirm as federal law the redefinition of marriage to include liaisons between two persons of the same sex. Apart from acting egregiously against the law of God, written in human nature and confirmed in Sacred Tradition, they have offered grievous scandal by giving the impression that the Church has changed her unchangeable teaching regarding marriage and the family. Their act of practical apostasy from the faith is sadly but one example of many such acts witnessed almost daily in our nation and in the world. Indeed, the soil of the Church would appear to be arid as today she seems to glory in confusion and division, instead of handing on faithfully and heroically the truth and the love which she has first received from Our Lord.
But, as our prayer at the Introit and as the entire Holy Mass of Our Lady in Advent makes evident, the soil of the Church is truly rich with the divine grace which never ceases to flow from the glorious-pierced Heart of Our Lord into the hearts of all who are alive in Him. The Introit concludes: “Lord, Thou has blessed Thy land : Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.” Our Lady has brought us to her holy shrine today to meet her Divine Son Who is for us, as He Himself has taught us, “the way, and the truth, and the life.” The Season of Advent is strong in the grace for making straight the way for Him into our minds and hearts, so that their aridity and sterility may be transformed into fruitfulness and fecundity.
Every day of our lives, we witness the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Isaiah to which we have just listened, as Our Lord comes to us in the Church. The truth is that the Virgin Mary has conceived God the Son in her womb by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and He has been born of her at Bethlehem, so that He might suffer, die, rise from the dead, ascend to the right hand of the Father, and send forth upon the Church the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit. The Child of the Virgin Mary is indeed Emmanuel, God with us.
In accord with the words of the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation, the name of the Child conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary is Jesus, that is, God Who saves us. As the Archangel Gabriel declared: “… he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” At the moment of His Ascension into Heaven, He declared:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
Before the trials and temptations of our time, there is only one answer, as there has always been only one answer: Jesus Christ Who “is the same yesterday and today and for ever.” In our distress at the situation of the world and the Church, the Virgin Mother of God, the Mother of Divine Grace, takes us to Him, as she took the distressed wine stewards at Cana to Him with the clear and simple instruction: “Do whatever he tells you.” He tells us to know our faith and to live our faith, so that all will come to know, love and serve Him and thus be with Him forever in Heaven.
Let us, therefore, not become discouraged, restless, and frightened before the evils we face in our day. Yes, they are the gravest of evils which indeed threaten our eternal salvation, but we remain serene before them, for our hearts rest in the glorious-pierced Heart of Jesus. In times like the present, we must insist all the more on deepening our understanding of the truths of the faith which Christ hands on to us in the Church and on increasing our love of Him especially as He comes to us in the Church through the Sacraments, prayer, and devotion. Let us recall the words of Saint Paul to Timothy at a time of a deadly persecution of the Church:
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry."
God has entrusted to each of us, according to our vocation in life and particular gifts, a portion of His garden to tend as good stewards, as co-workers with His Incarnate Son, Our beloved Lord and Savior, so that we bring forth the good fruit of His truth, His goodness, His beauty. Let us not lose sight of Christ in our midst, showing us the way and enabling us to follow it with all our heart. Let us never leave the company of His Virgin Mother who always brings us close to Him. She is the Mother of Divine Grace.
Let us, one with the Virgin Mother of God, now give our hearts completely to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. As He makes sacramentally present the offering of His life for our salvation on Calvary, He drops down the dew of Divine Truth and Love upon our arid souls. He rains down His justice and peace upon the earth.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE
 “Rorate, caeli, desuper et nubes pluant justum : aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.” “Antiphona ad Introitum, Missae de Sancta Maria in Sabbato, I – Tempore Adventus,” Missale Romanum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Concilii Tridentini restitutum Summorum Pontificum cura recognitum, Editio iuxta typicam (Novi Eboraci: Sumptibus et Typis Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1962).[MR]. English translation: Gaspar Lefebvre, The Saint Andrew Daily Missal (Great Falls, MT: St. Bonaventure Publications, 1999), p. 1594. [MREng].
 “Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob.” MR. English translation: MREng, p. 1594.