Juan Diego encountered Mary on a hill at Tepeyac, who asked him to go to the bishop of the area and ask him to build a church at the sight of her appearance. Of course, the bishop refused and Juan felt he was too unlearned and poor to be believed. He asked Mary in the second apparition to choose someone more worthy. But Mary would have none of Juan’s negative attitudes about his poor and unlearned status.
This unique appearance of Mary CAN speak to us today in so many ways. Our own leaders, political and otherwise, don’t value the “lowly” people, who are looked down upon as indesirables. They have been referred to as “deplorables” with little to offer our society. Mary seemed to have a special place in her heart for the lowly, uneducated human beings. Think of Bernadette of Lourdes.
God speaks through people the powerful in our world despise, push away or simply. The highly educated and well connected usually live in beautiful, safe neighborhoods that have great schools, lots of grocery stores, well maintained streets, far from decay and blight. The people of limited education, the blue collar workers, live in the shadows of the powerful.
This Feast teaches us who have so much to listen to other people we would not normally listen to or associate with. Walk in their shoes, people who can’t make choices for good health and solid education due to their income and position. The scriptures have a beautiful word for the world’s lowly human beings: the Anawim. Mary is considered to be a woman who is at the heart of God’s Anawim, Jesus, her Son, was born into this place of humility and lowliness. Think of where and how He was born.
Living the gospel involves the comfortable refusing to allow comforts and privileges to shape their worldview. It means experiencing the lives of people who struggle to make a living, who labor hard, who are forgotten. Simply reading about them simply fortifies our attitude of condescension. We need to meet them, learn their names, befriend them, perhaps even live with them in their neighborhoods.