Today we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. We cannot help but notice that Mary plays a key role during the season of Advent. Just a few short days ago we celebrated the special privilege granted Mary in her Immaculate Conception. Today we are reminded of the Blessed Mother’s concern for the poor. It was a peasant man in Mexico that reminded a powerful bishop of the universal nature of God’s love. Today serves as a reminder to all of us of the need never to “write off” someone because of their appearance or status.
Today we are reminded we have a special obligation to the poor. In many instances we are reminded that those who have little are often especially close to God. And, we are also reminded that for those who are well to do, it can be much harder to enter God’s kingdom. The rich young man who had many possessions went away sad. The rich will find it more difficult to enter the Kingdom of God. But the real challenge in readings such as these, is in seeing ourselves for who we really are. It is easy to think we are poor and the rich young man is someone else.
And it can also be difficult to see that we, like Juan Diego are called to be messengers of God’s great gospel. While reluctant and unsure at first, the confidence of the Blessed Mother space and Juan Diego, helped him to gather the courage to be a messenger of faith.
This Advent continues to remind us of the importance of discovering our own baptismal call. It also serves as a reminder the presence of God is universal. Juan Diego encountered the blessed mother as part of his regular day. Need to can encounter God in the ordinary events of our lives. In fact, for most of us this is probably the most common way we experience the faith.
The challenge is to discover the silence that makes these events possible. To open our eyes and open our hearts so that we are able to see and experience God’s presence in our lives. Indeed, to recognize that this season is about waiting for the coming of Jesus into our hearts each day. And as successful well covers of the word, we too are called to be disciples. We too can lead others to a deeper faith in Jesus.
Even more important, open minds and open hearts allow us to do what we could not imagine was even possible without the grace of God. We too can speak eloquently of our faith especially when it is difficult. We too can be persistent in our belief even when people make it hard for us to do so. Indeed, the presence of the blessed mother today, in the life of Juan Diego, is a reminder that she stands ready to pray for all of us.