Commentary on the Gospel of
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
See I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you. - Zecheriah
Heading to Omaha’s Beth El Synagogue after the horrific Tree of Life Synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh, my friend and I ran into a 15-minute traffic jam at the exit of the expressway. The synagogue’s parking lot was already full and cars were driving around hunting for parking places.
Inside Beth El, about 1,500 people had gathered for the memorial service: blacks and whites, old and young, men in yarmulkes, women in hijabs, teen-agers and babies, friends from St. John’s Church – you name it. One of the first speakers was Lorn Snow S.J., our pastor, representing Creighton. A refugee friend offered sympathy from his mosque and several Protestant ministers offered condolences and pleas for unity. Rabbis and leaders of Jewish groups thanked us for the outpouring. A cantor sang a haunting Hebrew hymn for the dead. We walked out between rows of teens holding lighted candles.
We FELT the presence of God.
I thought about this moving experience as I meditated on today’s reading from Zecheriah that tells us that “many nations shall join themselves to the Lord.” There was a palpable sense that night of people from many “nations” joining together under the Lord. No matter what we call God or how we worship him, we are part of his common human family.
In a similar vein, today’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe speaks powerfully to me of uniting with people different from myself because of tragedy unfolding on our southern border and the efforts of the Sisters of Mercy to alleviate it.
Recently my friend, Sister Catherine Kuper RSM, appealed to our Saturday night Mass community at St. John’s to help the Sisters of Mercy assist asylum-seeking migrants in El Paso, Texas. The sisters are collecting funds, gift cards, toiletries and other necessities for the migrants, most of whom have only the clothes on their backs. Many carry a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, their protector.
It was as if Mary, herself, was asking us to help protect her children.
That night as we left St. John’s, most of the conversations I heard focused on the best way to respond to Sister Catherine’s appeal. The following Saturday she collected boxes of supplies and over $7,000 in donations. It’s a drop in the bucket but I’m sure Our Lady of Guadalupe was smiling.
So today, remember that we are all members of God’s family regardless of our nationality, race or other differences. And consider helping Our Lady of Guadalupe protect her children.