EXPLORE THE SUNDAY GOSPEL
MEET OUR EXTENDED FAMILY
St. Justin Martyr (Feast Day June 1)
100 – 165
St. Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis (present day Nablus, about 30 miles north of Jerusalem) around the year 100. He was born a pagan and educated in philosophy. At the age of 30, he happened to cross paths with an old man walking along the beach who questioned him about his beliefs and especially about the sufficiency of philosophy as a means of attaining truth. Over time, Justin had been persuaded of the superiority of the Christian creed over all other beliefs and philosophies, and seen this belief made manifest in the witness of Christians. Martyrdom was for him the highest proof of the truth of Christianity. Nobody, he said, died for the teaching of Socrates. Justin’s heart burned within him as he realized that he had finally found the Truth he had searched for all his life.
Much like St. John the Baptist, Justin was a great apologist (defender of the faith), engaging in debates with scholars. He wrote numerous works about the faith. For his staunch adherence to the Christian religion, Justin (like John the Baptist) was beheaded in Rome in the year 165.
TAKE TIME TO CHAT
· John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus. Why was it important for people to prepare for his coming? What did John ask them to do?
· If Jesus was coming to your house, what would you do to prepare?
· The Messiah came to set things right in the world. If Jesus’ earthly ministry happened today, what would he “set right” in the world?
· John the Baptist and St. Justin Martyr was a both great defenders of the faith. How is God calling you to live out your faith?
Puppet shows allow children to use their imagination and really get into a story. Help your family re-live the beautiful stories of Advent by making puppets and putting on a puppet show! You can re-tell the Gospel story of John the Baptist, St. Justin Martyr, or Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego. Puppets can be made by decorating brown paper bags with construction paper cut outs, markers, or crayons. The puppet show can be presented from behind a couch or loveseat. Let the show begin!
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Prepare this dish and enjoy as a family!
3-lbs. shrimp, deveined
12 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic
3 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp. Cajun/Emeril Seasoning
3 tsp. hot sauce
1 ½ tsp. French black pepper
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Put in larger baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 F until pink. Once done, toss several times. Serve over pasta or rice and with warm crusty bread.
THE STORY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec man who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said, “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.” Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady.
Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, Mary helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop.
When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was beautiful, and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request.
The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded, and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe all this time.
The image of Our Lady that appeared on the tilma was very significant to the Aztec people. God had her dressed in a way that they would understand who she was. She was dressed in royal clothes; that showed that she was very important, perhaps a queen. She also had the symbol of the cross at her neck which was the same symbol the Spaniards had on their ships and in the churches they built. She had a sash tied around her waist which meant that she was with child, for this was the way the Aztec women dressed when they were pregnant. And on her beautiful dress were all sorts of designs and flowers. But there was one flower on her dress that was very significant. It had only four petals. To the Aztecs, the four-petal flower was the symbol for the true God, the God above all gods. This flower was located on her abdomen, right over the place where Jesus was growing inside of her. The Aztecs immediately understood that this was the mother of the true God!
This appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was very important to the history of our continent. The Aztecs and the Spaniards were on the brink of war. The Aztec culture and religion were very different from the Spaniards’. They worshipped gods, to whom they would offer human sacrifices, often killing 50,000 people a year. The Spaniards, who were Catholic, were naturally disgusted by this. But they were cruel to the Aztecs too, treating them like animals and sometimes killing them for no reason. If a war had occurred, it would have been very brutal and the Spaniards and Christianity would have been totally wiped out.
Mary’s appearance changed everything. It helped the Aztec people to embrace Christianity, and it helped the Spaniards to treat them with respect and as human beings. In seven years, six million Aztecs converted to the Catholic faith. This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church! That is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas. Juan Diego, the humble man to whom she appeared, was canonized in the summer of 2002.
Share this prayer as a family from St. Pope John Paul II:
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
O Virgin of Guadalupe,
Mother of the Americas,
grant to our homes the grace of loving
and respecting life in its beginnings,
with the same love with which
you conceived in your womb
the life of the Son of God.
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Fair Love,
protect our families so that
they may always be united
and bless the upbringing of our children.
Our hope, look upon us with pity,
teach us to go continually to Jesus,
and if we fall
help us to rise again and return to Him
through the confession of our faults
and our sins in the Sacrament of penance,
which gives peace to the soul.
We beg you to grant us a great love
of all the holy Sacraments,
which are, as it were,
the signs that your Son left us on earth.
Thus, Most Holy Mother,
with the peace of God in our consciences,
with our hearts free from evil and hatred,
we will be able to bring to all others
true joy and peace,
which come to us from your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Holy, Holy, Holy is a prayer that we pray or sing with all the angels and saints in heaven. Listen to the words of this prayer. What does it say about God?
Find a YouTube video on the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and a video on the miraculous image of Guadalupe. Watch both videos as a family.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates that Mary was always free from sin, even from that very first moment of her life (conception) in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. It is typically celebrated on December 8th and is a Holy Day of Obligation. Since the 8th is a Sunday this year, the celebration moves to Monday and Monday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.