Our Lady of Guadalupe
Doesn’t matter because she was true to her word, then, and throughout the life of her son, and beyond.
In our story today, Mary, an unwed, pregnant teenager, traveled some distance, in haste, to assist her relative, Elizabeth with the birth of her first born. Unlike Mary who is young, Elizabeth is old. Thought to be too old to have a child. But, as the angel said to Mary, nothing is impossible with God.
Mary helped Elizabeth give birth to John, who, as you know became John the Baptist. She then gave birth to Jesus. John and Jesus were cousins, and basically the same age.
It’s clear, through these extraordinary events, that Mary had to grow up fast – from an idealistic young teen, to an unwed pregnant teen, to a caretaker, to a mother who births her child in far from ideal circumstances and then must flee to a foreign land for fear of persecution, to the spiritual mother of us all.
And in ways that defy explanation, Mary has been active in the lives of Christians for centuries, encouraging each one of us to grow, to change, to respond to God’s call.
Before his encounter with her, Juan Diego, a native peasant in what is now Mexico was already a devout and spiritual Christian. But his life changed forever in December, 1531 at the hill of Tepeyac.
(video of St. Juan Diego)
The story of St. Juan Diego, nearly 500 years ago, produced the first indigenous saint of the Americas and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated by millions around the world, but especially in Mexico, Central and South America. She is the Mother of the Americas. And the two of them, Juan Diego and Mary, have inspired extraordinary faithfulness in our Latin sisters and brothers for generations since.
These days, as you surely know, many of our Latino friends struggle mightily just to get by and makes ends meet . . . in normal times. But in the midst of this pandemic, their struggles are compounded. More likely to get sick, less likely to be able to work from home, more likely to be laid off from work, less likely to have unemployment and health benefits, more likely to miss the rent payment or pay the heat bill, and less likely to have enough food on the table.
Yet they remain faithful. The Latino friends whom I know remain true to their faith and fervent belief that, with the help of Mary, God will look kindly upon their lowliness and indeed provide for their needs.
The rest of us? Well, I believe we are called to journey alongside all those in need, and to the extent that we can, be the way that God provides for them. This is what the Parishioners in Need fund is all about. This what Altar Society Adopt-a-Family is all about. This is what SC SVDP is all about.
Let us take to heart the words of Mary at the end of our Gospel story today, and have them be our earnest prayer: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
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