A Reflection on the The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
By: Marco Raposo
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Mary’s words to Elizabeth reveal the depth of her faith in God’s promises and His plan of salvation.
As a young woman in first century Judea, Mary lived under the Romans through an oppressive puppet king. A true missionary, Mary, set out to visit her cousin, with Jesus, the Gospel, alive in her womb. Together they were two women in a time when women were valued very little, yet they found themselves right in the center of God’s plan of salvation. Despite their challenging circumstances, their faith and hope were very much alive, as they knew deep in their hearts that God would come through for them, even if they did not know exactly how.
Here we see true evangelization in action – the Gospel does not stay static, but moves hearts and minds and propels people to encounter one another in an expression of solidarity and love.
Much in the same way, Mary of Guadalupe, who also carried the Word of God in her womb, presented the message of salvation to the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters: San Juan Diego, a lay indigenous man. Mary asked Juan Diego to present her message to the powerful people of his time. Right at the beginning of modern history on the American continent, at the convergence of two cultures – indigenous and European – this message of salvation pointed in the direction of a new way of being. The message had at its center the values of life, love, justice, solidarity, mutual respect, and inclusion that must guide our personal and social relationships and institutions.
Today, over 500 years after the first apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to San Juan Diego, and more than two millennia after Mary set out to evangelize and encounter her cousin Elizabeth, we continue to have faith and hope in God’s message of salvation and in the abundance of grace for all. As we work in the ministry of Restorative Justice, we continue to carry the same values and missionary spirit of evangelization to become transformed persons and in turn work to transform our social relationships.
We are called to deepen our faith and our hope, just like Mary, even though we are not necessarily powerful in our society. We are called to remember our responsibility to speak out against the many injustices taking place in our criminal justice systems, which affect the lives of thousands of incarcerated persons and their families, and thousands of victims and their families. We re called to work to reform our criminal justice institutions, to end the death penalty everywhere, and to help reintegrate our brothers and sisters coming out of incarceration.
Let us ask Mary, the missionary, the evangelizer, the Virgen of Guadalupe, especially in this Season of Advent, to continue to intercede for us before her Son, so that we may have the strength of faith and hope to carry on our Gospel call.
Marco Raposo is the Director of
the Peace and Justice Ministry
for the Diocese of El Paso, Texas.