First Reading: Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10
Psalm: Judith 13:18-19
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38 or 1:39-47
To most of us Our Lady of Guadalupe is just another Marian image,
but in Mexico she is part of the national consciousness. She is a
national symbol that speaks to all, Catholics and non-Catholics.
This is so because unlike other apparitions of Mary, Our Lady of
Guadalupe appeared as a Mexican/native American. Her physical
appearance had features that were symbolic in the native culture,
and this is why she became a very powerful image.
In the Aztec cosmology, for example, the sun and the moon are in
conflict because they are half-siblings. The sky god and the sky
goddess are the parents of the moon and the stars, but the sky god
had an affair with the earth goddess and they gave birth to the
sun. Thus the sun and the moon are like half-siblings who do not
get along and cannot stay together. This explains night and day.
Yet the Virgin of Guadalupe wears a pink dress decorated with
flowers, symbolizing the earth, and over it is a blue mantle with
stars. The earth and the stars are supposed to be in conflict, but
why are they together in the Virgin?
In that culture, bracelets are worn only by virgins, and a black
sash by pregnant women. Yet the Virgin wears both. She is a virgin
who is pregnant.
Finally, the Virgin has Aztec physical features, except for the
hands and fingers that are very long, like those of European women.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a woman who reconciles opposites, resolves
conflicts, and brings unity. No wonder she became such a powerful
symbol in Mexico. In her all the conflicts in their culture melted
away, paving the way for one nation under God, with the intercession
of the Virgin.
Advent is a making present of the first coming of Jesus as a baby in
a manger, but it is also an anticipation of Christ’s second coming,
when the Kingdom of God will become present in its fullness. At
that time, all conflicts will be resolved; love, mercy, and justice
shall reign supreme. No more war, no more politics, no more
hatred. Only love. Our Lady of Guadalupe reminds us of this
kingdom that is to come, but which is also our task. For wherever
there is selfless love, the kingdom is present.
May Advent be a time for us to help build the Kingdom of God,
wherever and whoever we are, whatever our circumstances in life.