Zechariah 2:14-17, Luke 1:26-45
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Luke 1:45
This is the day, 485 years ago, that the world of the Americas was turned upside down by the faith of a 57 year old peasant named Juan Diego and the revolutionary gentleness of a woman called Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Juan Diego was one of the uncounted, voiceless, marginalized, and seemingly unimportant indigenous peoples of Mexico. The country was being overrun by Catholic, Spanish conquerors who were misusing their perceived power by committing genocide against the native people. With little to no recourse but their staunch and steadfast faith, the people of Guadalupe believed strongly the words proclaimed in today’s Gospel that all who believe in the promises made by God would be fulfilled.
In both the Greek and Hebrew testaments are found hope-filled passages that the people of Guadalupe could have held on to: “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). “You are precious in my eyes…and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4). “Then you shall call, and God will answer, you shall cry for help, and God will say: ‘Here I am!’” (Isaiah 58:9). “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Whether or not the peasants were able to read, they knew in their blood that the life and death of Jesus was all about people rendered poor by unjust economic and political systems. They knew that Jesus indeed had a preferential option for them. They believed that the beatitudes were meant for this life and not for the one to come.
The brown-faced woman, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared to Juan Diego looked like him and his people. She spoke with gentleness to him and empowered him to claim the integrity and dignity which was his and that of his community.
If we, like Juan Diego believe in the promise of God, there is no end to the healing that will take place in the United States.
Do I/we have the courage to work with communities of color and join with those disempowered by economic and political systems to claim what is rightfully theirs?
Reflection from “Journey Towards Justice: Reflections for Advent & Christmas 2016.” Download today at our online store.