From Our Associate Pastor.
How Can This Be? That’s what we hear Mary say to the Angel Gabriel upon hearing from him that she will bear a son who will be called the Son of the Most High, who will take the throne of David, rule the house of Jacob, and whose kingdom will have no end.
How many times do we say these words in our own life: “How can this be?”
How can my husband or my wife love me? I’m not good enough.
How can my children love me? I didn’t treat them well.
How can my parents forgive me? I disobeyed them.
How can people like me? I’m ugly, I have addictions, I have depressions.
How can I be successful in life? I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough money.
And the worst thing we can say: How can God love me? I have committed grave sins.
It’s probably what Juan Diego was thinking too on that eventful morning in 1531 when he encountered La Virgen, who told him to tell Bishop Juan Zumárraga to build a chapel in her honor. How can this be, that an Indigenous peasant is chosen to be a messenger for the Mother of God? At the time, the Spanish ruled Mexican territory, and government, trade, and religion were all dominated by Spaniards. Juan Diego himself had only been baptized a few years before that. Why didn’t Our Lady pick someone else more worthy?
I believe it’s because she herself had gone through the same thing. 1500 years before that, she too was a nobody. She was a lowly peasant girl who was chosen by God to bear the Christ. How can this be? She had not even had a relationship with a man.
Yet the angel assured her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” God chose her, a simple woman, for a great mission. In turn, she chose Juan Diego for another great mission: to make her known to all the indigenous people of Latin America and to tell them that they are not some second-class citizens to the Spaniards, that they all have inherent dignity as her children and under her protection. Therefore, whenever we have doubt, and the next time we ask, “How can this be,” I hope we remember the marvelous deeds he has done for us. God has sent the Holy Spirit to empower us. There is no need to feel insecure, of not being good enough. Each one of us is precious in God’s sight and has been tasked with a uniquely great mission in this world. How can this be? How can I be? Because with God, nothing is impossible.
Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!
Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM
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