Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

(Zechariah 1:14-17; Luke 1:39-47)

When Pope Francis travels abroad, he usually goes to the poorest countries or spends much time in the poorest parts of the country he is visiting.  Last week he went to Myanmar and Bangladesh, two of the most problematic nations on earth.  Next month when he visits Peru, Francis will travel to the remote Amazon region where the indigenous are struggling for survival.  He evidently chooses to visit marginalized populations for the same reason that the Lord goes to Jerusalem in today’s first reading.

Zion or Jerusalem at the time of the prophet Zechariah is a shadow of what it was in the days of David and Solomon.  The city was destroyed by the Babylonians and now is trying to rebuild itself without much success.  But God is coming to aid the effort.  He will make the city once again a place of international significance.  People from all over the world will travel there to give praise to the same God.

We can understand the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a similar way.  She is God’s special envoy dispatched to the indigenous of Mexico.  They have been defeated by the Spanish and find themselves being diminished by plague and subjugation. Mary’s semblance as well as her dress is much like their own.  They can feel the pride of blessing with her gracious presence.  Undoubtedly they feel much like Elizabeth in the gospel proclaiming, “’And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’”  Mary’s response provides the reason.  God takes pity on the poor and lifts up the lowly.