Today is the third Sunday in Advent as well as a feast of Mary that dates back before all other major apparitions of her (ex. Lourdes and Fatima). She is the mother and patroness of all the Americas: South and North America. She is the patroness of the unborn. She is our advocate and protector. She is our mother and helper on our life’s
In 1531, a newly converted Christian, a man we call today Juan Diego, was on his way to Mass when he was visited by an apparition of a girl who was no more than 14. She was dressed in the indigenous clothing of the Aztecs and identified herself as “the perpetual and perfect Virgin Mary, holy mother of the True God through whom e
verything lives, the Creator and
Master of Heaven and Earth.”
Among many things she told Juan, she asked Juan to go and tell his bishop to build a temple on sight of her appearance. As proof, he was asked to climb a hill whereby he would collect a bunch of roses (which were out of season) and show them to his bishop, Juan de Zumarraga. Juan did as she asked and upon unwrapping his tilma or cloak, he revealed an image of Mary as she appeared to Juan. The religious authorities were astounded and were convinced. Today, Juan Diego’s tilma still miraculously exists and is placed behind the altar in the Basilica of Guadalupe. The image has withstood the test of time beyond expectation and explanation.
This event galvanized the two warring peoples, the Spaniards and Aztecs, and brought them together under one Catholic faith with an intense devotion to Our Blessed Lady. Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the sign of the nation of Mexico, but she has also become a sign of unity for us all. Today, she brings both our Anglo and Hispanic cultures together under one faith at Mass, echoing the call in John 17, where Jesus prays that we all be one.
Do we dare listen to such a challenge? Do we dare come together under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe? And the answer is yes! It is God’s desire and it should be ours too. That means that we are to make efforts to come together and try to talk with each other. It means sharing liturgies and languages. I means sharing spaces and hearts. It means celebrating the Eucharist together. I am so proud of our parish that has embraced both cultures and languages. We will continue to have English and Spanish Masses, but there have been times when we have come together and celebrate as one. Let that be your prayer today. Pray for patience and conversion of heart. Pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe that she will always keep us in her vision and pray to our Savior for us.
Thanks be to God for all He has done. Praise be to God for the miracle of the image of Our Lady. She is our symbol of unity. May she never forget us. May she keep us in her prayers. Finally, I invite you to come again to Church this Sunday (Dec. 12) at 5:30 PM for a bilingual Mass in her honor. Celebrate Mary and all she has done for the Church.
Fr. William Holtzinger