Today we joyfully celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of the Americas.
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12, 2022): ZEC 2:14-17; Judith 13:18,19; LK 1:26-38
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
God wanted people of the whole world to understand that He desires us to know His love and to be united with Him and each other in His mercy.
In December, 1531, St. Juan Diego, a 57-year-old member of the Chichimeca people and a Christian, was walking on a hill outside of what is now Mexico City. He heard a sound like the twittering of birds and then saw a glowing cloud. Within it he beheld a beautiful young woman who was dressed like an Aztec princess. Speaking in his native language, she told him that she was the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Then she directed him to go to the local bishop and say that she wanted a church built on that spot. Mary reassured Juan Diego: “Let not your heart be disturbed. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.” However, the bishop wanted some proof of the story. Three days later Our Lady of Guadalupe again appeared to Juan Diego. She told him to pick some nearby roses that were growing in the winter cold and to carry them in his tilma, or cloak, to the bishop. When he unwrapped the tilma and the roses fell out, the bishop and St. Juan Diego beheld an image of Our Lady on the cloth, just as he had described her.
Within a few years, millions of the indigenous people of Mexico converted to Christianity. A shrine was built that has been replaced over the centuries, most recently by a beautiful basilica in the 1970’s. Millions of pilgrims go there every year to pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to see the same extraordinary image that was given to that humble Indian farmer and faithful Christian to share with the world. Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Juan Diego in 1990. He also declared Our Lady of Guadalupe, already patron of Mexico, to be the patron of all the Americas. In today’s liturgy we hear from the Old Testament reading: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they shall be His people, and He will dwell among you” (Zechariah 2:14-15). God wanted people of the whole world to understand that He desires us to know His love and to be united with Him and each other in His mercy. That was the message He sent through His Son and our Savior who died for us all. And it was at the heart of Mary’s message to St. Juan Diego and to every one of us, His beloved children.