Thursday, December 11, 2014

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Given by the Most Rev­erend Stephen E. Blaire at the Cathe­dral of the Annun­ci­a­tion in STOCK­ton.

One of the great truths at the heart of our Faith is that God has loved us so much that He entered into our human­ity in the per­son of His Son, Jesus Christ. God belongs to all peo­ples, to all cul­tures because He is the cre­ator of all. There are many reli­gions in the world which acknowl­edge God as cre­ator, but Jesus Christ alone is the Sav­ior and Redeemer of all.

On the cross Jesus said to the dis­ci­ple and to every­one who would be his fol­lower: BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER. Mary is the mother of every Chris­t­ian. Like Jesus, she belongs to every race and cul­ture. That is why each race has an image of Mary which reflects the cul­ture of the peo­ple. For the Mex­i­can, and by exten­sion to all the peo­ples of the Amer­i­cas, Our Lady of Guadalupe comes from the cul­ture of the peo­ple. The image of Mary unfolded in the tilma of Saint Juan Diego 475 years ago is a gift from the Church for the peo­ples of the Amer­i­cas. Mary is not to be seen as some kind of a god­dess who reigns over and above the peo­ple, but is to be ven­er­ated as one who comes from the peo­ple and is for the peo­ple, espe­cially for the poor. We are the dis­ci­ples of Christ and Mary belongs to us a our mother.

The theme for this year’s cel­e­bra­tion por­trays Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the great evan­ge­lizer. Mary is the star of the first and new evan­ge­liza­tion. She embod­ied in her life the two qual­i­ties of those sent by God to pro­claim the gospel. First of all, she is a woman of faith. “Behold the hand­maid of the Lord, be it done to me accord­ing to your word.” She believed and the Word of God became flesh. In faith she pon­dered in her heart all the great things God has done for us. Sec­ondly, she accepted the call of God to be the mother of Jesus, the mother of the mes­siah and later to be the mother of all the dis­ci­ples. She was faith­ful to the end and remains faith­ful to all that God has asked of her.

The great reli­gions of the world pro­mote jus­tice on the face of the earth. Jesus, the Son of God, is the Just One, come from God, who by His pas­sion, death and res­ur­rec­tion has jus­ti­fied those who believe. To be just is to stand in a right rela­tion­ship with God, with your­self, with your neigh­bor and with the earth. Mary is the mother of the Just One and of those who prac­tice jus­tice.

Devo­tion to our Lady of Guadalupe cel­e­brates our human­ity, our dig­nity as human beings, and demands the jus­tice which hon­ors the dig­nity and worth of every human per­son, with par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to those who are poor and suf­fer­ing. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is often car­ried in pro­ces­sion as a demon­stra­tion of faith and sym­bol for jus­tice as willed by God. The procla­ma­tion of the Gospel, the mis­sion of evan­ge­liza­tion, is a call for jus­tice. To honor Our Lady of Guadalupe is to stand right with God; to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe is to respect the dig­nity and worth of every human being as made in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ; to honor our Lady of Guadalupe is to care for the earth and its envi­ron­ment as given to us by God.

In faith we pon­der in our hearts all the great things God has done for us, all the great gifts God has given us, espe­cially the trea­sure of Mary, whom we honor today under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. VIVA LA VIRGEN DE GAUDALUPE!
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