December 12, 2012 - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
Judith 13:18-19
Luke 1:26-38 or 1:39-47

Juan Diego had twice climbed the hill of Tepeyac and twice been told by the Blessed Virgin Mary to go to the bishop and ask that a church be built on that spot and had twice gone to the bishop and been twice put off. This time, as he walked near the hill, he would not climb it, for his uncle was sick and he was hurrying to get a priest, and he had no time now for visions. So he walked around the hill, but Mary appeared anyway at the bottom of the hill, for she is not restricted like some pagan gods were. She spoke tenderly to Juan Diego and told him, “There is nothing to frighten or distress you. Am I not your mother?” She spoke like a mother to her child and promised that his uncle was fine now. So, at her command, he climbed the hill and found there, in the dead of winter, roses of many different colors. He picked them and held them in his tilma and carried them to the bishop. Here was the sign that the bishop needed to believe: roses in winter. But when he went to the bishop and let go and the roses spilled on the ground, they went unnoticed because of the change that had occurred. On the tilma there was now an image of the woman who had appeared to him. There was a woman, with the moon under her feet, clothed with the sun, wearing the traditional sash that marked a pregnant woman in the native Mexican culture.

What thousands of missionaries would be unable to accomplish in a lifetime was done by Mary in a year. Millions of people suddenly knew for certain that this Jesus whom the Spaniards spoke of was not a Spaniard. His mother had appeared right there in their land, to one of their people, speaking their language, looking like one of them. She was not on the side of the conquerors. She was, as she always has been, on the side of the poor, because she too was poor, though now a queen. She was, in her humility, able to speak to humble people. Ever since the visitation, where she carried the body of Christ to Elizabeth and John, she has been bringing Christ to people throughout the world: in Mexico, in Lourdes, in Fatima, in Wisconsin, and many other places.