Saturday, December 12, 2020
Advent 2020: December 12
"God saw the world falling into ruin because of fear and immediately acted to call it back with love. God invited it by grace, preserved it by love, and embraced it with compassion."
Peter Chrysologus, 5th century
"Where are you going?" asks Mary of Juan Diego. He is stopped in his tracks. He leaves his "important" plans and becomes her messenger: Build a church where the cries of the poor and the oppressed will be heard. The bishop hears these gospel-laden words with shock and disbelief. Signs, tangible signs, to know if this is true: That is his demand. But the words that the Indian brings are the answer. The church must turn its institutional attention from its needs to listen to the solitary voice of one poor man. It is a voice caught up in cultural traditions, old Indian ways, unpurified beliefs. Juan Diego's nervous intensity comes not from self-interest but from the faith that his voice and prayer have been heard by God. The words he speaks are the answer to his prayers.
What Mary has asked of the bishop is not meant to cause a division among the servants of the Lord. It is not a condemnation of strategies or theologies. Rather, it is a word of direction to move from the status quo operations of the day and to build up a place where the prayers, the cries, the heartbreak of people can be heard. The place becomes symbolic of the fact that a mestizo church emerges from these birth sufferings of a conquered people. The temple is symbolic of the age-old, faithful word of God to be with the people.
Guadalupe's significance is both word and symbol. She provides the answers to the prayers of her faithful people: "God is with you!" Her very appearance, as of the poor, aligns her with them. Guadalupe's proclamation can be seen as God's option for the poor.
"Where are you going?" echoes in the life of God's poor to this present day.
Posted by Rmj at 10:11 AM