The Bishop’s E-pistle: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Last Sunday many of our congregations observed the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in addition to the Third Sunday of Advent. At St. Mark’s, Mesa, where I was visiting, we had the Danzas Tepayac open our worship, who also danced at Diocesan Convention.

I’ve often wondered what the scene at the Jordan River with John the Baptist must have been like—how did so many people find his gruff message of repentance so compelling as to travel all the way down to the Jordan from Jerusalem?  And once they got there, what kept them as disciples of John? How did their baptismal experience feed them? 

It occurred to me as I was preparing to preach this week that the experience of going to see John the Baptist at the River Jordan probably bore a lot of resemblance to the experience of visiting the Basilica de Guadalupe. I only visited the Basilica once, in 2001, but I was fascinated by the throngs of the faithful, chanting and singing, full of devotion and deeply moved by their experience.  Many traveled long distances to be there and came so that their faith would be renewed when they returned home. 

What else would the visit to the river Jordan have been but such an excursion?  One of music, dance, and song—tears, prayers, and joy. A mountaintop spiritual experience, and one that united them with their fellow travelers. 

What holds that place for you in your own piety? What is the pilgrimage, or place, or community that guides and directs your faith?