Today we come to celebrate our Lady of Guadalupe. The last time I was here at Wahneta I came for the funeral of Fr. Norman Farland just three months ago. I’m sure you still miss him; I miss his presence here with us today. He loved to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. What would Fr. Norman say to us today? “Do not to be afraid!” Our Lady of Guadalupe will be with you to help and protect you because she loves you all. She came to Juan Diego, a simple and humble man, who loved God. She will also come to each and every one of you because you too love the Lord.
We come to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe, your patron, your mother, your friend. She is the friend that gives you strength, gives you hope and gives you courage. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a friend that is there for you in good times and in bad, always willing to help you. Like all mothers she gives you life, she gives you faith, she gives you love. Our Lady of Guadalupe teaches us by her life many important lessons of trust in God.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is depicted in the Tilma of St Juan Diego as a pregnant woman. She is pregnant with the child Jesus. This is before she married Joseph; yet this was a crime punishable by stoning. But Joseph did not want any harm to come to her or her child. Joseph did not even divorce her. Mary and Joseph had to flee with the child Jesus because King Herod wanted to harm her child. Mary suffered much in her life; she saw her Son rejected, mocked, scourged, hung on a cross to die.
Most of you have come here to the United States to begin a new life of hope and freedom. Some of you have come because of war or violence – seeking peace and security. Some of you came here to protect your children from the violence and crimes of your neighborhoods. Your dreams, your hopes are simply to make sure your children are safe, they can go to school and learn, get a job, have a home and family in the future. But there are many difficulties and problems in our world today. People are concerned and worried about many things.
It is difficult to live and work in the United States without papers. You fathers and mothers work hard every day to take care of your children. But if you do not have the correct papers you are always in danger and you live in fear. You are worried you may not be able to work and provide for your families. You are never sure if you will return home to your family in the evening. Children go to school in the morning and they are not sure if their parents will be there in the evening. Fathers or mothers are separated from their children. Husbands are separated from their wives and children. Mothers are separated from their children. This is not the life that Jesus wants families to have. Jesus wants families to be united, not separated by borders, walls or fences but to be united in faith, hope and love. These are not just words; they are Jesus words “to love one another as I have loved you and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Every person – citizen or non-citizen – with papers or without – all must be treated with dignity and respect. Every person is made in the image and likeness of God. Every person is sacred; every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Our Lady of Guadalupe carried the Lord in her womb. We too carry the Lord in us from our baptism.
Our Lady of Guadalupe came to a humble man named Juan Diego not to a rich and famous man. She spoke to him in his own language. This tells us that the meek and humble are important to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe comes to each and every one of you to lead you to her son Jesus. Remembering what she said to St. Juan Diego, “Do not be disturbed in your heart; do not be afraid. Am I with you, I who am your mother?” You need to hear these words and take them to heart. These are comforting words which will strengthen you when you encounter hostility in your daily lives. The causes of so many evils and injustices in our world today will only be overcome when good people come together to work for peace and justice. There will no peace unless there is true justice which respects the dignity of every person legal or illegal all are Gods children.
I come today to be with you and to support you. I want you to hear loudly and clearly you are not alone; you have Our Lady of Guadalupe at your side every moment of the day. Remember when you have her with you; you also have Jesus; the Lord of true peace and justice. Viva Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe! Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la genre de Wahneta.