Revelation 11:19-12:1-6. Psalm 45:11-12, 14-17. Luke 1:39-47 or Luke 1:26-38:
Advent is brought to its conclusion through Mary who will give birth to Jesus at Christmas. We have another feast of Mary that reminds us that we are in union with her in our waiting for the birth of her son.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is pregnant so we realize that she is expecting very soon as Dec. 25th nears. In doing some research on this feast of our spiritual mother, I discovered that the word Guadalupe associates us with a text from Genesis that is in our Catholic tradition associated with Mary. That text is read this way in the Vulgate: Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierum, et semen tuum et semen illius; IPSA conteret caput tuum , et tu insideraberis calcaneo illius. This text shows that it is she (Mary) who is crushing the head of the serpent. This tradition was followed up to the time of new translations based on earlier manuscripts than the Vulgate where it is the child of Mary (Jesus) who will do the crushing of the head of the serpent. I bring this idea up for the meaning of Guadalupe has something to do with this text since it means “ She will crush the head of the serpent of stone.” The history of the research done on this topic is quite complicated but interesting for those who are exegetically inclined. In the congregation of the Marianists, Blessed Chaminade, the founder, had a great devotion to this image of Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. He was accustomed head of the serpent under Mary’s feet saying, “She has crushed your head and will continue to do so forever!”
There is even a trace of this tradition in one of the antiphons used for the feast of the Immaculate Conception where the IPSA is used. This means “She “(Mary). I see a likeness in our first reading to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and am glad that verse nineteen is part of the reading from chapter eleven. This makes it possible through association to link Mary to the Ark of the Covenant. She contained within herself the person of Jesus, the Son of God.
Mary through the image on the cloak of Juan Diego brought his people to see in Mary a protector and one who unites his people in the Church. Today we know that she is the patroness of all the countries associated with the Americas. We see that she is surrounded by the sun and there are stars above her and the moon beneath her. What other text than Rev. 12 has such imagery for the person of Mary and the Church? Not any other. The text is equally applied to Mary and to the Church and it she who is the one who unites us in this imagery. After all, she is the Mother of the Church and its foremost member.
This is a mystery that symbolism does much better than pure rationalism which sometimes balks at the dimension of mystery and faith. The text affirms that the dragon is the ancient serpent and the devil! The earth and its people come to the rescue of this woman when the dragon spews forth his venom to drown her! No luck for the wily old snake-serpent when it comes to confronting this woman of the universe. She conquers him and all heresies. She it is who will give birth to the Messiah (Jesus) who will rule the nations with an iron rod.
We unite ourselves with this magnificent woman clothed with the light of the sun. We are together in our celebration of this feast for the Americas and we pray especially for our Hispanic brothers and sisters who are very devout believers in this miracle at Tepeyac in Mexico. Many of you have visited this image of Mary in the cathedral in Mexico City.
I personally was always and am still amazed at the similarities between Revelation 12: 1-6 and the Tilma image of Mary. My brother who likes to draw and paint pictures of Jesus and of Mary has done a marvelous painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his basement underneath what used to be the entrance porch of the house of our parents. In what is now a storage room this image brightens the place with this fine work. I consider it among the best that he has painted. Happy Feast Day to all of you! Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.
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