Following is the homily proclaimed by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, at the annual Feast Day celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Federation of Guadalupanas held at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in San Antonio on Dec. 3.
We live in very difficult times. People live in fear, anxiety, depression. Antagonism against the stranger, neglect of the hungry, contempt for the poor are part of the “signs of the times.” There is little concern for the common good. There is a deepening chasm between the very wealthy and everyone else. There are deep political divisions and polarization in society.
At times like this God may seem very distant and remote. In times of desperation, the people of God cry out: “Oh Lord, that you would rend the heavens and come down!” Lord, help us! You are our father, our creator, our redeemer, the potter who shapes our lives. We need your presence and your help. We know that you will never abandon us, Lord. Make your presence felt in our lives!
Today, at the beginning of Advent, we await the coming of the Lord! Yes, we remember his presence among us nearly 2,000 years ago. We await his Second Coming when God will set things right and judge the living and the dead. And we also await his special coming into our own lives this year in a new and deeper way. We pray for the coming of the Prince of Peace!
So we wait! But not passively. When the Lord comes, we want him to find us doing right. This means that we must acknowledge and confess our sins. We need to listen attentively to the word of God and change our attitudes, our way of life, our actions. We need to walk in God’s ways, not those of the world. Our devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe helps us to be true missionary disciples of Jesus.
The Virgin of Guadalupe appears with child. She brings an experience of a merciful, compassionate, loving God to the peasant Juan Diego. She is the mother of new life that brings together diverse peoples. She is the mother of the new children of God, the mother of the new mestizaje of the Americas.
Our devotion to la Morenita means that we, too, are to carry the Word of God in our hearts and to proclaim our faith to the world by our actions. Like the Virgin of Guadalupe, we are to be the agents of unity, mercy, and compassion among all of God’s children.
Dearest Lady, you are at one with all people. You promised to be with us, your people, telling us not to fear the darkness, the violence, the hatred. You are the protector and liberator of the poor, the downtrodden, those forced to live on the margins of society.
Dear Lady, teach us, by your image and example, true Christian witness, authentic missionary discipleship. Thank you for your presence, your message, your connection with us, your devoted children. Help us to prepare for the coming of the Lord!
This column appeared in the December 8 issue of Today’s Catholic.