The following is the text of a homily delivered by Auxiliary Bishop Alfonso G. Miranda Guardiola of the Archdiocese of Monterrey, Mexico, at Masses for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Dear Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, thank you for your invitation.
Dear community of New York and brothers of the United States.
Dear brothers and friends of different countries gathered here.
Queridos amigos y hermanos hispanos reunidos en esta casa de Dios.
I’m very happy to be here with you to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. I give you greetings from the Catholic Church in México. We live there with joy and hope, especially at this time of Advent. We have, certainly, some important problems to resolve, but with a strong spirit, and trusting in Our Lord and in Our Lady of Guadalupe. And working so hard to recover the peace that everybody needs. And make real progress with solidarity and justice.
El acontecimiento Guadalupano es actual y crucial, pues así como la Virgen de Guadalupe, se presenta a Juan Diego, indígena, humilde y sencillo, así Cristo mismo se acerca a los pobres y los pequeños, para mostrarnos que todos somos hijos amados de Dios.
La adopción maternal que hace la Virgen de Guadalupe del indio Juan Diego y de todos los habitantes de estas tierras, significa que ya no existen diferencias entre las personas, ya no hay propios y extraños, sino una nueva sociedad en la que todos estén incluidos por igual, para llegar a ser y vivir como verdaderos hermanos.
La Virgen de Guadalupe une todos los corazones, esa es su misión, unir a los hermanos de las más variadas naciones, en la única familia de Dios, en donde al menos por un momento todos nos hacemos hermanos, rompiendo barreras y haciendo puentes de encuentro, quitando toda división y obstáculo.
Nuestra señora de Guadalupe supo poner a su amado Hijo en cada corazón y así fue construyendo su casita sagrada, una familia en la que su hijo Jesucristo es el centro, un acontecimiento que proclama que es posible la fraternidad.
Recibimos de nuestra Madre, la tarea compartida con toda América, de ser el Continente de la Esperanza, para el futuro de la humanidad. Es tarea de los pueblos de todo este continente hacer de esta promesa una realidad.
El mensaje guadalupano de amor, compasión, auxilio y defensa de los oprimidos, quiere fortalecer la fe de sus hijos, especialmente de los inmigrantes para que vivan con la mayor dignidad posible, en éste y en todos los países.
Somos conscientes, de la situación de los inmigrantes que viven en esta tierra, inquietos por la posibilidad de ser expulsados. Y conocemos también la situación de muchos otros, que no pueden volver a su país, por la misma situación migratoria, y así poder saludar, contemplar y llorar a los pies de la Morenita en su casita del Tepeyac.
Por eso desde aquí, ante la réplica de su imagen, en esta hermosa Catedral, nos acercamos con profunda devoción, llevándole nuestras angustias, seguros de su protección. ¿Qué te aflige? ¿Qué no estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?
The first evangelization took place 500 years ago in the midst of a cultural and racial encounter. It was then that Mary of Guadalupe appeared in the continent as a young mestiza, thus affirming the dignity of all races and cultures that would form a new people; an American (mestizo) people born out of the blood of Native Americans, Europeans and, later on, Africans.
Her liberating message continues as a sign of joy, hope and consolation for those who suffer rejection due to their race, culture or social status:
“Listen, my son, the most vulnerable, worthy Juan: Where are you going? Know and understand well in your heart…that I am the Mother of God, the One for Whom you Live, the Creator of all peoples...”
“…I wish wholeheartedly that a holy place be erected for me at this site. In it I will show and give to the people all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection. Because I am your merciful Mother, yours and of all the nations who live in this land…There I will hear their cries, remedy their misery and cure them from their pain and sorrow.”
“…Let your face and your heart not be troubled, don’t be afraid… Am I not here your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and my bosom…?”
The words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego resound in our hearts today as they did long ago. They define with amazing clarity the liberating message of God, those for whom the message is for and the mission that is to be carried out. This is without a doubt a message of Advent in that announces with a sense of urgency the coming of our Savior; the fulfillment of the Good News that bring consolation and joy.
In her dark-skinned face, Guadalupe embodies the indigenous peoples of the entire continent and, through them, first recipients of her liberating message; through them and their trust in the Mother of the True God, this message of peace and fraternity, reaches the Europeans, Mestizos, Mulatos, Africans, Asians, Americans and, as Mary of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego, to all the inhabitants of this land.
Today, the most vulnerable of human beings is also under her care as Guadalupe, the Pregnant Madonna, is widely known as the patroness of the unborn.
It is in this context that we can understand why the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is becoming a liturgical celebration that brings together the faithful from different cultural backgrounds and races as one community of faith, as one family.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe devotion strengthens Mexican cultural religious and ethnic identity—important factors for the survival of immigrants who have left their land to face new challenges in another country. In this situation, Mary of Guadalupe continues being a source of hope, a refuge...Upon seeing her, people can recover their faith, hope and joy.
We thank God for the prayer services and special Masses that are held in many dioceses across this country, asked for the U.S. Catholic Church on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, focusing on migrants and refugees.
The dark-skinned image of Our Lady of Guadalupe impressed, proclaimed to the indigenous peoples of the Americas "that all its inhabitants shared the dignity of children of God.” No more would anyone be a servant, but we are all children of the same Father, and brothers and sisters to each other. With St. Juan Diego's vision of Our Lady in 1531, Mary "became the great missionary who brought the Gospel to our America. Pope Francis has said.
The day of prayer is intended to be a time to place before a merciful God the hopes, fears and needs of all those families who have come to the United States seeking a better life.
“So many families are wondering how changes to immigration policy might impact them. We want them to know the Church is with them, offers prayers on their behalf and is actively monitoring developments at the diocesan, state and national levels to be an effective advocate on their behalf.” (Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dec. 1, 2016).
Imploring Mary’s intercession, we pray that God would help the people of America forge a future of hope, development and opportunity for the poor and suffering, for the humble, for those who hunger and thirst for justice. He could come to the aid of the small, and fills with good things, blessings and hope those who trust in his mercy. Mary, the Mother of God, is coming close to our people. She did not just want to visit the Americas. The image on the cloak or "tilma" of Juan Diego, is a sign that "she wanted to remain with us."
Mary, the Advent woman, as Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, was herself away from home, without a home, with an untimely pregnancy, in Bethlehem, to give birth to her son, who happened to be the Savior of the World. Not long after, she, the baby, and the child’s foster father, St. Joseph, had to flee their native country because the political authorities wanted to kill Jesus.
They are immigrants again. Amen.