daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Monday, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 2011
Zech. 2:10-13, Jth. 13, Luke 1:26-38

"And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God'" (Luke 1:35).

Today in both North and South America we are celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico on this day in 1531.

We honor the Virgin Mary because she conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, without man, Jesus the Christ. Jesus Christ is God, the only Son of the Father. Therefore Mary, who is the mother of Jesus, is the mother of God. In her we have a human being who was actually and truly the mother of God!

Being the mother of the Messiah, she is also the adopted mother of all the adopted children of God; that is, of all those who believe in her Son and who are born again in him through faith and baptism. She is therefore our mother too, and we honor her as such. St. John says, "To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13). If we become children of God by believing in the only Son of God by nature, then his natural mother becomes our adopted mother, our mother through faith. Since we are sons and daughters in the Son, his mother becomes our mother.

Mary as the mother of God, that is, of God's divine Son Jesus Christ, is also the spouse of God the Father, and she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. She had an exclusive, nuptial relationship with the Father, which is a model for us. Israel was the spouse of Yahweh (Isa. 62:5), and Mary was the fulfillment par excellence of this nuptial relationship with God. This relationship is illustrated by the Song of Songs. This song has been interpreted as an allegory of the love between Yahweh and his people, of the love between the Father and Mary, and of the love between God and every Christian. We too should want to have a nuptial relationship with God, as we see it illustrated in this book. Mary is our model in this. Therefore we can see in the images of the Song of Songs a presentation of the ideal love that we too want to have with God.

Mary arises out of the desert, where she has gone to be alone with her divine lover. We should do the same, especially during Advent. "Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" (Song 8:5). "What is that coming up from the wilderness, like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of the merchant?" (Song 3:6). She is perfumed from her encounter with God in the desert. This is what this loving encounter with God does to her, and the same thing happens to us when we go into the desert to be alone with God, the only love of our heart, leaving all else to live for him alone. He perfumes us with his own fragrance, for he is "like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of spices" (Song 8:14).

Mary encounters her beloved in a forest of aromatic trees, where she goes to live for him alone. We should do the same. "Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, I will hie me to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense" (Song 4:6). There she sleeps on a flowering couch (Song 1:16) with her beloved, who is for her "a bag of myrrh, that lies between my breasts" (Song 1:13) in her house in a forest of myrrh and frankincense, whose beams are cedar, and whose rafters are pine (Song 1:17). Such are the types of loving encounters we should have with God.


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