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Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: December 12, 2020

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

12 December 2020 / Our Lady of Guadalupe

Ave Maria Parish / Romanus Cessario, O.P.

Not long after Christopher Columbus—the “Christ bearing Dove— claimed the New World for Christ and His Church, Our Lady appeared in what is now a suburb of Mexico City. The year was 1531, about forty years after the arrival of Spanish missionaries. We in South Florida enjoy a special relationship with the Virgin of Guadalupe on account our own Spanish Catholic heritage. If there is anything that can claim the distinctive status of American Catholic, devotion to the Lady of Guadalupe is it.

Mary’s message appears today as especially relevant. It is significant, first of all, that the visionary was a native American Indian, an Aztec. Our Lady chose Saint Juan Diego to show that she favors no class of people, no race of people, no political body. No, Our Lady belongs to everyone everywhere. Just as Christ dies to accomplish the salvation of all human beings, so Mary cares for each human being. To put this truth in the context of the sixteenth century, Our Lady wished to show that she was not the protectress of only the Spanish.

A second relevance of Guadalupe for today arises from the way that Mary presents herself. She tells Juan Diego that she is the mother of the true God and of Juan Diego himself. Mary is not another disciple. Mary is not another figure in the New Testament narrative. Mary is not only Jesus’s mother. Mary presents herself quite simply as our mother. We need to take Our Lady at her word. Young people wondering about the future. Confide yourself to the Blessed Mother. Men and women in the full bloom of adulthood who must shoulder the burdens of daily life. Trust Mary. Old people who must face the debilities and anxieties that increased age brings. Turn to your Mother. As the Virgin of Guadalupe makes clear, she is truly mother to all of us.

A third reason why American Catholics, of both North and South, should rejoice today follows upon the blessings that Our Lady brought to the new continent. Other places in the world can trace their Christian origins even back to the first century—Ethiopia arguably among them. Americans, on the other hand, count a little more than 500 years. Our Lady’s appearance on the hill of Tepeyac shows that divine Providence does is not measured by calendar years. God’s love embraces all equally. We will celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe today by telling Mary that we place our trust in her maternal care for us and for our nation.

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