Pope Francis’ historic first pilgrimage to the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City brought reflections of obedience, surrender, and hope as the Holy Father celebrated Mass on Feb. 13.
“We have just heard how Mary went to meet her cousin Elizabeth. She sets out without delay, without doubts, without lessening her pace, to be with her relative,” Pope Francis stated during his homily on Feb. 13, pointing to the Gospel of Luke.
Mary “is the woman who says ‘yes’...this is the ‘yes’ which prompted her to give the best of herself, going forth to meet the others,” the Holy Father continued.
Pope Francis offered these reflections while celebrating Mass at the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe during his 6-day papal trip to the country of Mexico.
During his homily, Pope Francis noted that listening to that particular Gospel passage on Mary “in this place has a special significance.” He went on to highlight Mary’s availability to those in need, saying her obedient surrender to God helped her serve her brothers and sisters.
“Just as she accompanied Elizabeth in her pregnancy, so too she has and continues to accompany the development of the blessed Mexican land,” Pope Francis stated, saying Mary reveals herself particularly to those who feel worthless.
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill in December 1531, Pope Francis recalled that “the first miracle occurred which would then be the living memory of all this Shrine protects.”
“On that morning, God roused the hope of the little ones, of the suffering, of those displaced or rejected, of all who feel they have no worthy place in these lands,” the Pope stated.
Pope Francis also noted that St. Juan Diego first experienced true mercy and hope through Our Lady of Guadalupe. Although St. Juan Diego often thought “he was not the right person,” Mary remained persistent in her requests and made him “her ambassador.”
Because of St. Juan Diego’s lowliness, the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe was able to proclaim that “we are all necessary, especially those who normally do not count because they are not ‘up to the task,’” the Holy Father stated.
“God’s Shrine is the life of his children, of everyone in whatever condition, especially of young people without a future who are exposed to endless painful and risky situations, and the elderly who are unacknowledged, forgotten and out of sight,” Pope Francis said.
The unworthiness of St. Juan Diego can be an example to everyone, the Pope continued, saying Mary favors her children who feel rejected, “assuring us that those who suffer do not weep in vain.”
“Look at the Blessed Mother from within our own sufferings, our own fear, hopelessness, sadness, and say to her, ‘What can I offer since i am not learned?’” the Holy Father said.
The Pope then reflected on a liturgical hymn, asking to have “eyes for you, O Mother, simply contemplating you with a heart quietened by your tenderness, that silence of yours, chaste as the lilies.”
The Holy Father also noted that Mary wants all her children to “be ambassadors” like St. Juan Diego, by giving food to the hungry, refuge to those in need, clothing the naked and helping the sick.
“Today, she sends us out anew; today, she comes to tell us again: be my ambassador, the one I send to build many new shrines, accompany many lives, wipe away many tears,” Pope Francis stated.
“Mary says this to us again. Go and build my shrine, help me to lift up the lives of my sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters.”