(Archbishop Gomez led more than 140 Catholics from Los Angeles on the annual Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City July 13. The following is adapted from his homily at the basilica and was delivered in Spanish and English.)
As we come before the sacred tilma, and as we lift our eyes to gaze into her eyes — we hear the echo of Our Lady’s tender words to St. Juan Diego: “Am I not your mother? Are you not under my shadow and my gaze? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not sheltered underneath my mantle, under the embrace of my arms?”
Mary is our mother.
This is the beautiful truth revealed in her apparition at Tepeyac. She is our mother, the mother of all who find new life in her Son, Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel today, we hear those powerful words from St. Elizabeth: “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Here at Tepeyac, the mother of our Lord is with us! She enters into our lives, just as once she came to Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah.
Mary comes to bring Jesus to us. He is there, in the womb of his mother. The heart of Jesus Christ — our Lord Redeemer — beats beneath her heart. The same heart that was in the holy Child at Bethlehem; the same heart that was pierced on the cross at Calvary.
In the presence of our Lady, Elizabeth felt awe and wonder. We need to feel that same sense of wonder. How does it happen that the mother of our Lord should come to us? Truly, it is nothing we deserve, nothing we could ever earn. It is a pure gift of God’s beautiful love for us.
So, we stand before Mary today in love, with our hearts open.
Today, we ask Mary of Guadalupe to continue to be a mother to us, to show us the way to be good sons and good daughters of God. We ask her to protect our families, our children, and especially the vulnerable — those who are living on the streets, the child in the womb, the sick and elderly, the refugees fleeing violence and terror.
Jesus was born of Mary, so that we might be born as children of God!
This is the truth about who we are, my brothers and sisters. We are God’s children now! We are children of Mary, brothers and sisters of her Son, Jesus.
This is why we feel such joy today. It is the joy of renewing our faith in this truth. It is the joy of remembering that God has poured his Spirit into our hearts, so that we can share in his divine life.
And Jesus calls us now to follow him and to walk with him and spread his love and joy to the ends of the earth.
My dear brothers and sisters, the joy that we feel today — this joy of knowing that we are children of God — this is not something we can keep to ourselves.
Love and joy are meant to be shared! These are gifts from God that he wants us to bring to others.
Jesus is calling all of us to bring his love to the world, just as our Blessed Mother carried him to Elizabeth. Each of us here today has that same duty — to bring Jesus into our homes, into our work, into our conversations, into every aspect of our ordinary daily life in society.
Jesus does not ask us for great gestures or big displays. We bring Jesus into the world by simply being faithful to him — by loving him and serving our brothers and sisters in love.
So brothers and sisters, as we stand today at the feet of the Virgin of Guadalupe, let us consecrate ourselves to her.
Let us say, “All for you, Mary,” as we try to bring the joy of Jesus into everything we do.
Let us ask our Blessed Mother of Guadalupe to intercede for us, to continue being our mother and to always cover us with her mantle, so that we may be good sons and daughters of God and, like Diego, missionaries of her Son’s message of love.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us! Be our mother, and bring Jesus to us, so we might bring Jesus to others!