And this is the great mystery: Mother Mary made a mestizo of God, true God and true man, in her Son.
By Fr. José Manuel Ortiz, Associate Pastor, St. John XXIII Parish
The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the people of Mexico narrate the evangelization of a culture through the intervention of God and the Blessed Virgin. When one reads the story from the Nahuatl perspective, one realizes how this evangelization soaked the pre-Hispanic culture and spoke to the most intimate reality of a people immersed in deep confusion and the loss of their religious values.
The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe achieves what seemed impossible in the eyes of many: the union of two irreconcilable peoples. First, the Virgin Mother appeared with a mestizo face, symbolizing the encounter between Spaniards and indigenous people. Yet she privileged the indigenous contribution, appearing to one of them and assuming the symbols of their culture. She appeared not to a Spaniard or someone from the ecclesiastical institution, but to a marginalized indigenous person. When communicating with him, the Virgin Mother herself begins by saying, “Juanito, my son, you should be treated with the utmost respect, but you are marginalized. Where are you going?” The conquerors treated the Aztecs extremely harshly. Juan Diego had internalized the negative image that they created of the indigenous people. He recognized himself as a “poor indito” (which, today, is considered a racial slur), a man of the countryside, despicable, a dry leaf of the tree (“soy mecapal, soy parihuela, soy cola, soy ala, un indito”). When Mary appeared, the evangelized became the evangelizer, a messenger of the Good News for his own people.
Mary revealed her mission with the poor: "Here I wish to hear their laments and come to their pain." The fact that she both appeared to Juan Diego and revealed to him her mission, a mission meant to be executed by the bishop of the dominators, opened a new meaning of evangelization. It was no longer institutional evangelization, based on power, above the Indians and for them. It was evangelization starting from the poor and open to all. This is what the New Evangelization represents today.
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