Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Guadalupe: A Call For Solidarity in “America”

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: She is a sign of God’s gratuitous love in Jesus Christ, given especially to all the peoples of “America” (North, Central, and South) reminding us to love one another as brothers and sisters. 

The year 2031 is a mere eight years away. It will mark the 500th anniversary of the gift of Mary’s enduring image on the cloak of Saint Juan Diego—and through her image she continues today to call us to communion with her Son. We must love one another, not only as fellow human beings, but as children of God who have been redeemed by Jesus and called to eternal life. The Mother of Mercy wants us to recognize the face of Christ in our brothers and sisters, to treat one another with mercy and hospitality—following her example and relying on the help of her maternal love. This is our Christian vocation, and it is also the only hope for building up peace and solidarity in this world as we journey together toward the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom.

I was blessed to be present at two of Saint John Paul II’s five pilgrimages to Mexico City. From him I learned the vital importance of the unity and solidarity of the peoples and nations of this hemisphere under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He always spoke of all of this land as “America” in the singular. Pope Francis continues to emphasize this theme and its implications.

"When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity" (Pope Francis, 12/12/2014).