Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration
Dec. 14, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters of the community of Christ the King and parishioners of the Archdiocese of Baltimore,
It is a privilege for me to be able to accompany you today in this celebration to the morenita (brown-skinned), the sweet Virgin of Guadalupe, that mother who always welcomes us in her Holy cloak, in her “tilma.” We address Our Lady tonight in a very personal way – as our mother.
In this season of Advent, today’s liturgy reminds us and encourages us to have hope and faith in the Incarnate Word. The readings offer us a cordial invitation so that no one despairs in their situations; however difficult they may be, since salvation has become present in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
The prophet Isaiah, in a beautiful poem, offers us the biblical image of the blooming desert and of the people who sing and leap with joy as they contemplate the Glory of the Lord. With these words: Cheer up, have joy, rejoice, the prophet encourages us and pushes us to fix our gaze on The Savior, for He will ‘strengthen tired hands.’
The psalm emphasizes the Lord’s faithfulness to his promises and his care for all who suffer. And James warns us that the Lord’s arrival is already very close, and to wait patiently for his coming.
In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, we read about how the patience of John the Baptist is tested. He, who in the darkness of prison, is invited by Jesus to remain faithful to his mission until the end.
In this third week of Advent, on Gaudete Sunday – Gaudete which means “Rejoice,” the image of the Mother of Guadalupe, the one who accompanied San Juan Diego on her day, also accompanies us, and it is that image of the virgin in waiting, that which goes carrying in her womb the King of Kings, it is she who also encourages us to rejoice. We have to resort to this image of our Mother all the time, and remember the words of hope that she spoke to San Juan Diego:
Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?
We must look at her sweet face, and look at her eyes full of peace, talk to her and tell her everything that is in our hearts. Today more than ever, we need to feel her maternal tenderness. Deep in her heart, Mary is a mother who loves us. She doesn’t ask for anything for herself. All for Jesus! Everything to be our mother! All to intercede for us!
Through Mary, who brings us to Jesus, we can expect great things for ourselves and our families and children. Tonight we embrace Mary, our Most Holy Mother of Guadalupe. We ask you to teach us how to be good mothers and good fathers to our children. We ask you to teach us how to be good sons and daughters. We ask Our Lady to help us always be like her. May she help us to live always with Jesus in our hearts, to live to share Jesus with all the world, in all that we do. Let us be guided by Mary’s example. She who with her fiat, with her ‘Yes’ to God, opened a new world for us.
Let this time of Advent, this sweet wait, may we also rejoice as the prophet Isaiah, and proclaim that joy that only our faith in Christ can proclaim. And may we also be instruments to bring the Good News of the coming of the Messiah to others in our communities, who are in need of a message of encouragement, hope, and love. In particular, we remember those immigrants who suffer by being away from their loved ones. Those young “dreamers” who live in a world of darkness and instability because of the immigration situation.
Just like Our Lady of Guadalupe introduces herself to Juan Diego, an indigenous, humble and simple, so Christ himself approaches the poor and the little ones to show us that we are all beloved children of God. Just as the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe came to bring hope to the indigenous people of Latin America, so also, we through our baptism, are called to bring that hope to those who need it. The Guadalupan message of love, compassion, help and defense of the oppressed, wants to strengthen the faith of your children, especially of immigrants so that they live with the greatest possible dignity, in this and in all countries.
Now more than ever, I invite you to make room in our hearts to receive those who are overwhelmed, desperate, and helpless. Let’s hug our immigrant brothers as the mother hugged San Juan Diego in her lap. For he who receives a brother receives Christ. Just as Mary of Guadalupe, full of joy, we too can share the love of Jesus Christ.
I conclude my homily, remembering the words of the famous carol:
“From heaven one beautiful morning
The Virgin of Guadalupe descended to Tepeyac.
Her arrival brought happiness
Peace, harmony and freedom…”
Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!
Long live Saint Juan Diego!
Long live Christ the King!