Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12th, 2018
Fr. Shawn E. Gisewhite, OPI
Today we are here celebrating our Lady of Guadalupe, who has also been proclaimed the patroness of the Americas, the Empress of Latin America, and the Protector of Unborn Children. Around the world, and especially in Latin Communities, Christians will bring their best to this celebration with great music including Mariachis, dancing, roses and candles, inspiring and moving readings, and traditional Latin foods. What an appropriate time in the life of our Country for our Lady to come and remind us that she is not a mellow, mute virgin, but that she is a warrior, who from the very beginning has challenged the establishment, the dark forces of the world.
Not only she has been a symbol of unification, she has also been an active participant in the fight, “la lucha,” against oppression, unfairness, and social injustice. She was present, “presente” in The Mexican War of Independence, and the Mexican Revolution. Both wars were led with flags including an image of our Lady of Guadalupe.
Guadalupe also served as an icon and a symbol for farm-workers in their fight to gain union representation and recognition of their rights. A fight led by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta. Referring to Guadalupe, Dolores Huerta Said that “she is a symbol of faith, hope, and leadership.”
We have also seen the Guadalupe image in the marches in Los Angeles, advocating for fair immigration reform, and against deportation.
In what we consider to be very challenging times for women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ, and for people with disabilities…Guadalupe is ready for action!
In the US, elected officials, both Left and Right, are leading our country down a dark path. Our political system if ripe with greed.
Greed is not a value of God’s world. God’s world is full of love and compassion. God’s economy is simply God’s plan to distribute itself into humanity.
In God’s intention to distribute itself to many people in mass production, and free of charge, God has also assembled its administration. The administration that God needs to bring itself into humanity.
I don’t know if you checked CNN or FOX News today, but God released a list of people in his Cabinet. God’s cabinet includes:
Chief Strategist: Jesus of Nazareth
Secretary of State: John the Baptist
Chief of Staff: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Secretary of Defense: Mahatma Gandhi
Secretary of the Department of health and human services: Desmond Tutu
Ambassador to the United Nations: Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Co-secretaries of Agriculture: Dolores Huerta and César Chavez
We are an integral part of God’s mass production system too, and to become active producers the qualifications that we need are two: Spiritual Poverty and Humility.
Today, both in the lesson and the Gospel, God gave us two examples of human beings like you and I who changed the world in response to God’s call.
God decides to incarnate, to become human among us in the person of Jesus, through this low-income teenager, who lived with her parents, and who was engaged to Jesus, and who was probably not that highly educated.
In the story of Guadalupe, we hear that Guadalupe chose Juan Diego- a farmer, native Indian, low-income, probably not that educated, to challenge the existing system of oppression represented by the conquerors, and the highly bureaucratic Church.
Were both of them expecting these calls? Apparently not from the way that they initially reacted.
The Gospel said that Mary was much perplexed by the words of the Angel, and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then she said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
And Juan Diego’s response to Guadalupe was “I earnestly beg you, my Queen, that it be one of the principle ones, those who are known, respected and esteemed, that you send to take your message, so it might be believed. Because I am a farmer from around there, I am rope, I am a ladder, I am the excrement of the people, I am a leaf.”
In this season of Advent, a season of expectancy, what is leaping inside you?
Is it is a desire to fight to overcome homelessness? To protect the rights of women and children, the disabled, the LGBTQ Community, of legal immigrants? A desire to give up what you have (fancy clothes, a comfy home, a luxury car, a prestigious job) to help those less fortunate?
If this is the kind of call that you are experiencing, like Mary and Juan Diego, you may ask ourselves, why Me? I can’t, these things are too big for me!
If you feel that desire to act, do not be afraid, I encourage you to answer like Mary and Juan Diego did:
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” “My dear Lady, I will not cause you affliction; I will go willingly to fulfill your will; in no way will I leave it aside nor will the task be difficult. I shall go to do your will, though I may not be listened to with a good Disposition. I will talk to them even if they don’t believe me”
Through Baptism we have all received the same Spirit that Jesus received to fulfill his mission, the same Spirit that moved Mary and Juan Diego to say yes to their call. So, we have what we need to accomplish our mission – the Spirit of God that was given to us by God’s grace.
Brothers and Sisters, if Mary and Juan Diego lived here in the USA now in December 2018, would they be fearful? Would they be fearful because of who they are as a woman, minority, colored, low-income, and uneducated? Sadly, I expect that the answer would be, “Yes.”
And today, not by chance, God has brought to us one of the key members of God’s cabinet, Chief of Staff Our Lady of Guadalupe, a warrior that through history has been at the forefront of the fight for social justice, for “la lucha.”
She does not want to be enclosed in an office. She is ready to walk with us in every march, and demonstration, resisting the dark forces that are threatening God’s economy of love and compassion.
Let us ask her to lead us in this difficult times in the life our country.