Pope Francis: Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Friday evening, to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Below, please find Vatican Radio’s working translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks.
“All the people praise you, Lord, all the people. Have mercy on us and give us your blessing; Lord, turn your eyes toward us. The earth knows your goodness and the people your salvific works. The nations sing of you with jubilation, because you judge the world with justice.” (Psalm 66).
The prayer of the psalmist, pleads for forgiveness and blessing for the peoples and nations and, at the same time, expresses with joyful praise the spiritual sense of this Eucharistic celebration. Today, with gratitude and joy, the peoples and nations of our great Latin American homeland commemorate the feast of their “patron”, Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose devotion extends from Alaska to Patagonia. With the Archangel Gabriel and Saint Isabella, we begin our filial prayer: “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28).
On this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we gratefully remember her visitation to us and her maternal closeness. We sing with her the “Magnificat”, we entrust to her the lives of our people and the continental mission of the Church.
When she appeared to Saint Juan Diego in Tepeyac, she introduced herself as the “ever perfect Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God” (Nican Mopohua), leading to a new visitation. She tenderly hastened to embrace the new people of the Americas at the dramatic moment they came into being: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Rev 12:1). She assumed within herself the cultural and religious symbolism of the native people, announcing her Son and giving Him to the new and suffering people of mixed race. Many leapt for joy and hope before her visitation and before the gift of her Son, and the most perfect disciple of the Lord became the “great missionary who brings the Gospel to our America” (Aparecida, 269). The Son of Mary most Holy, his Immaculate Mother, reveals himself from the origins of this new peoples’ history, as the “true God who gives us Life,” as the good news of filial dignity of all the inhabitants of America.
No longer is anyone a servant, but we are all children of the same Father, brothers and sisters together. The Holy Mother of God not only visited these people, but she chose to remain with them. She left her sacred image mysteriously imprinted on the “tilma” (or cloak) of her messenger in order that we might keep in mind the symbol of Mary’s covenant with these people, conferring her spirit and tenderness.
Through her intercession, the Christian faithful began to become the richest treasure of the soul of the American people, whose precious pearl is Jesus Christ. It is a patrimony which is transmitted and manifest today in the many baptism of multitudes of people, in the faith, hope and charity of many; in precious popular piety; and in that popular ethos that reveals itself in an awareness of human dignity, in the passion for justice, in solidarity with the poorest and suffering, in hope that is sometimes against every hope.
That’s why we here today can continue to praise God for the wonders he has done in the lives of the Latin American people. God “has hidden these things from the wise and the learned, [and has] revealed them to the childlike.” (Mt 11:25) In the wonders which the Lord has achieved in Mary, she recognizes her Son’s style and way of acting in the story of Salvation. Sweeping away worldly judgments, destroying idols of power, riches, success at any cost, denouncing self-sufficiency, pride and a secularized Messiah complex which distances from God, the Mary’s Magnificat professes that God delights in subverting ideologies and worldly hierarchies.
He lifts up the lowly, comes to the aid of the poor and the little, he fills with goodness, blessings and hope those who trust in his mercy from generation to generation, while he casts down the rich, the powerful, and rulers from their thrones.
The “Magnificat” introduces us to the Beatitudes, the earliest synthesis of the Gospel. In the light of the Beatitudes we feel compelled to ask that the future of Latin America be forged for the poor and those who suffer, for the humble, those who hunger and thirst for justice, for the compassionate, the pure of heart, those who work for peace, and for those who are persecuted because of Christ’s name, “for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt 5: 1-11).
And we make this request because Latin America is the “continent of hope”! Because she hopes in new ways of development which combine traditional Christianity and civil progress, justice and equity with reconciliation, scientific development and technology with human wisdom. Fruitful suffering with joyful hope. We can protect this hope only with great amounts of truth and mercy, the basis for all realities and revolutionary engines of an authentically new life.
We place these realities and these desires on the altar as a gift pleasing to God. Imploring his forgiveness and trusting in his Mercy, we celebrate the sacrifice and the paschal victory of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only Lord, the “liberator” of all of our slavery and misery derived from sin. He calls us to live the true life, a more human life, to live together as children and brothers, now that the doors to “the new heaven and the new earth” are open (Rev 21:1). We implore the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the name “Our Lady of Guadalupe” – the Mother of God, our Queen, our Lady, the young woman, our Little One (as called Saint Juan Diego called her), and with all the loving names which popular piety has given her – that she may continue to accompany, help and protect our people.
May she lead by the hand all pilgrim children in these lands to the encounter with her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, present in the Church, in its holiness, especially in the Eucharist, present in the treasure of his Word and teachings, present in the faithful and holy people of God, in those who suffer and in the humble of heart. So be it. Amen!