Wednesday, November 28, 2012

12/12/2012 – Our Lady of Guadalupe – Luke 1:39-47 –

       In 1531, almost 500 years ago, a Lady from heaven appeared to poor & humble Juan Diego on Tepeyac hill in Mexico.  She identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  She requested that a church be built on that site, but the bishop asked Juan to bring him a sign that this was really the Blessed Mother. Mary sent Juan Diego to the top of the hill to collect roses to give to the bishop as his sign, where roses wouldn't normally grow in winter.   Juan collected the roses in his tilma made from catus fibers.  When Juan unfurled his tilma to give the roses to the bishop, an image of Our Lady was revealed, miraculously printed on the tilma. This image that still appears on the tilma today as it is on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. 
      Even our modern technology cannot explain how that image of our Lord got on that tilma & how it has been preserved for so many years.  Over the centuries, Our Lady of Guadalupe has appealed to the hearts of the faithful throughout the world. Miracles & cures are attributed to her healing power, bringing 20 million pilgrims to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico each year.  
      Even today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the image of hope & liberation in Mexico & all over Latin America.  Go through a poor Mexican American neighborhood in the United States & you will see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe everywhere.  I remember watching a big soccer game on TV back in 2001 when I was studying in Costa Rica that summer; when the Mexican soccer star scored the winning goal in a seemingly impossible shot, he tore off his soccer jersey to display the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a T-shirt underneath, giving her the honor of his winning shot. The image that Juan Diego brought into the world has so much meaning on so many levels even for us today. 
      This feast shows how important Mary is as the mother of our Church, in addition to helping us to better appreciate the Hispanic culture in our county today & the gifts that they bring to our Church & to our society.  Just as Elizabeth called Mary blessed among women, we proclaim Mary blessed as well as we honor her as our Mother.
       Today, let us look to Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe as examples of faith speaking out to us from a time & place so different from our modern world, but with a message that still resonates today.  May the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the image of a poor native woman who will bear a child, help us to prepare a place in our hearts for the upcoming birth of Christ into our world.  May Our Lady of Guadalupe inspire us to help others in our community & in our world as a symbol of unity for all of us who live in the Americas.  

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