On the Occasion of the Holy Mass at the Beginning of the Pastoral Trip to Mexico, Shrine of Guadalupe, Mexico City (October 27, 2022)
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to our Lord for being able to celebrate Mass in this holy site, where God’s infinite mercies have been manifested with divine generosity through the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Thank you, Lord; thank you, our Mother!
We have just read in the Gospel these words of Jesus lamenting the hardness of the human heart: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you!” (Lk 13:31-35). Our Lord met with difficulties and opposition, which led him to the Cross; a Cross accepted out of love for us, for our salvation.
There have always been difficulties, also now, in the world, in the Church, in the life of each person, in that of each one of us. Jesus expressly refers to the violent opposition met by those who are sent by God. Here we can also recognize ourselves, because all of us Christians are sent by our Lord, as apostles, to bring the joy of the Gospel to the world. And we encounter greater or lesser difficulties, starting with our own limits and shortcomings.
But let us not allow room for any pessimism or discouragement. In the first reading, like the Christians at Ephesus, Saint Paul addresses these words of encouragement to us: “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph 6:10-20). Yes, let us strengthen our spirit through faith in the assistance, in the presence of God in us, knowing we are children of God in Christ Jesus; children of a God who is Love and who knows everything and can do everything.
Saint Josemaría had these Latin words engraved deep in his soul: Si Deus nobiscum, quis contra nos? It is Saint Paul who wrote it: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). And our Lord assures us, as He did the Apostles: “I am with you always, to the end” (Mt 28:20).
Uniting ourselves to Saint Josemaría’s prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1970, we place in her hands all the needs of the world, of the Church, of the Work, of each one of us; all the joys and all the sorrows. We want this prayer of ours to be an expression of a living faith; a more lively faith that is the foundation of a more sure hope and a more intense charity. How consoling are the words that Our Lady of Guadalupe addressed to Saint Juan Diego, and that she continues to address to each one of us today: “Listen and understand, my son, my youngest son, that which frightens and afflicts you is of no account; let not your heart be troubled. Am I not here, I who am your mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Aren’t you resting on my lap?” Nothing should take away our peace and joy.
Faith, hope, charity, which make us souls of prayer, like at the Church’s birth, when everyone persevered in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus (cf. Acts 1:14). The apostles with Peter at their head were present there. So our prayer is always united to that of the successor of Peter, of the Roman Pontiff. We pray especially for Pope Francis, who frequently repeats, as a prayer of intercession: “May our Lady watch over you.”
Also like the Apostles at Pentecost, who went out to conquer the world for Christ, let us strive each day to give our ordinary life an ever-new apostolic meaning. In Mexico and from Mexico, to the furthest corner of the world. This land, which has received so many blessings from God, has a special responsibility to be salt and light for all the continents, beginning with the homes of families and places of work.
And always, despite our weakness, with the joy of the daughters and sons of God, with the motherly protection and help of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Providence has wanted me to be able to celebrate Holy Mass in this blessed sanctuary on my birthday. As Saint Josemaría used to do, I extend my hand asking for your prayers, through the intercession of Our Lady of Tepeyac, for me and for my intentions, which are those of the Church, those of the Work and those of each one of you.
Romana, n. 75, July-December 2022, p. 197-198.