While this feast is often seen as a Mexican or Hispanic feast, Our Lady belongs to the whole of the Americas. She is the vision on our side of the world, of our home. Her message of hope to the down-trodden and humility to the powerful speaks to the good and bad things that have molded the Americas.
It is the Faith of the locals, the people, that Mary builds on. It is the actions of the powerful that she addresses.
The Franciscans and Jesuits had helped to establish Christianity in the Americas, and we bless them, especially those that paid with their blood. While many native vocations developed, the hierarchy were for the most part foreigners, often dismissive of the local population. Mary's appearance to a humble peasant with the command to build a Church signals the establishment of a local Church, not one ruled from Spain or Europe, but by the local people. It seems to me to be a statement that the Americas had come of age. The Americas needed to shine and lead the Church with humility and justice. In many ways we have led the world to recognize the morality and values of Christ. But perhaps we have become complacent and have not been the leaders that we need to be.
Today we see the Church developing in other places where oppression and injustice seem to have the upper hand. As the world learned from us, so should we learn from them. Let us celebrate the spiritual coming of age of the Americas and the grace and power of Christ to move and transform the world. Let us celebrate the spiritual coming of age of all the peoples and places of the world and continue to work for the Kingdom, that it may be realized in the lives of every person, the poor, the rich, the proud, the humble, the mighty, the lowly.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
-- The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
Things to Think About