Commentary on the Gospel of

George Butterfield - Creighton University's Retired Community

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. If you have never read the story of what happened on Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City, on December 12, 1531, I encourage you to do so. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. Our Lady is the patroness of the Americas and has inspired many a person to meet and embrace her son, Jesus.

There are two possible first readings. The first one is addressed to “daughter Zion.” The earliest Christians believed that Mary perfectly embodied everything that daughter Zion was called to be. If daughter Zion had been like Mary, it would have been exactly what God wanted from his people. What is God’s promise to daughter Zion? The Lord is stirring forth from his holy dwelling and will come to dwell among his people. Many nations, not just Israel, will join themselves to the Lord and will be his people with God dwelling in their midst. If you have read Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles lately, you cannot help but to see this promise written all over it. God comes to dwell in the midst of his people in the womb of Mary and the Good News is taken to the nations, the Gentiles.

The second possible first reading is from the Book of Revelation and describes a woman who looks a lot like Our Lady of Guadalupe. The reading opens with God’s temple in heaven opened and the appearance of the ark of the covenant. And what is this ark of the covenant? It is “a woman clothed with the sun….” Within the ark of the covenant that resided in the Jewish temple, there were three things: manna, the stone tables of the law, and Aaron’s rod that had budded (demonstrating his authority as high priest). Within the womb of the ark of the covenant seen in the heavenly temple was a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations. Jesus, the manna of life, the Word of God, the one with all authority and power, resided in this ark of the covenant, Our Lady. Upon the birth of this child, the heavens rang out: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed.”

The psalm is from the Book of Judith and proclaims how blessed is the daughter of the Most High and then the first option for the Gospel reading tells the story of the message of the archangel Gabriel to Mary announcing to her that she will conceive, bear a son, name him Jesus, and that he will be called the Son of the Most High. He will sit on the throne of David, his father, and of his kingdom there will be no end. How can this happen? The second optional reading for the Gospel says that it is because Mary believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled. That is why she is most blessed among women. That is why we celebrate her feast today. She believed, proclaimed the greatness of the Lord, and her spirit rejoiced in God her savior.

I could only hope to one day be like her.


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