Homilette for Friday, December 12, 2008

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

(Zechariah 2:14-17; Luke 1:39-48)

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Elizabeth recognizes that the action in her womb as a response to the Lord whom Mary carries womb. She can do little but exclaim, “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” God has indeed blessed Mary by choosing her to bear His son, but this fact alone hardly makes her all that we believe her to be.

Later on in this same Gospel of Luke, a woman will call out to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” Jesus’ replies to this compliment with a correction. “Rather,” he says, “blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:27-28). Jesus is not slighting his mother a bit here because he knows better than anyone how Mary always responds graciously to God’s word. Her responsiveness is demonstrated when she hurries to Elizabeth’s side after the angel informs her that the latter is with child. The inspired Elizabeth recognizes this greater quality of Mary when she tells her, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

We can see find Mary acting on the word of God when she meets the indigenous Juan Diego. She orders the Indian to tell the Spanish bishop of Mexico City that he must build a church on the site where she stands. Native Mexicans at this time are a poor, defeated nation whose converted Christian members have to travel into the city for mass. By mandating a church where the people reside Mary demonstrates God’s care for the poor found on most pages of Scripture.