Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Today is the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and protector of the unborn. I chose the first reading from Zecheriah because it resonates with the apparition’s message and celebrates God’s presence among his people.
Zechariah is a prophet in the 6th century B.C. He prophesied God’s promise of hope and restoration to the people of Judah. He also delivers the Lord’s promise to dwell among his people and make them his own.
In 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared in Mexico to an indigenous peasant, Juan Diego. In this epoch, 14th to 16th century, Aztecs in Mexico believed in a cycle of creation and destruction involving human sacrifices to ensure cosmic balance. Still, the appearance of our Lady challenged this belief system, for her message emphasized love, compassion, and the value of human life.
The Virgin Mary converses with Juan Diego in his native language, Nahuatl, which shows respect and empathy for an indigenous person. She calls herself Tonantzin, Mother Goddess, already revered by the Aztecs. This title or name bridges the gap between indigenous beliefs and Christianity. Also, the imprinted image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a mixed-race woman with indigenous features, which resonated deeply with thousands of indigenous people who converted to Christianity. It became the unifying figure of the diverse cultures of Mexico.
I can’t help but see the parallelism of the description of the apparition and the celebration of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic celebration uses language that speaks to all people. It also makes everyone equal, no matter what life status one has. It is a celebration that unifies all. And most of all, it shows the fulfillment of God’s promise to dwell among his people and make us his own.
God of power and mercy, you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. May your peace reign in the world through your justice present in our hearts. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Catholic Online)