Dear brothers and sisters, as you may know, we have begun the festivities in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
As we, the priests, planned this novena a few months ago, we brainstormed about the theme that we wanted to give this novena. We asked ourselves what the world, our city, our neighborhood, our families or, maybe, we ourselves are experiencing. We concluded that affliction is one of the problems we are strongly experiencing. We decided to name our theme: “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Comforter of the Afflicted” taken from the litany of the Holy Rosary.
We believe in this theme because Mary of Guadalupe is really that, a woman who brings comfort and consolation for the afflicted. God wanted to use Our Lady of Guadalupe to bring consolation to an entire continent.
What happens when we feel afflicted?
When one is afflicted, one feels sadness, anguish, or physical, emotional, spiritual or moral suffering.
You and I know very well that we all have afflictions. Either because we have problems, our body or soul are in pain, or we have difficult situations in the family or at work. All the time there have been afflictions.
When God sees us afflicted, He sends us the means and the people who can help us in our affliction. In other words, God sends us a consolation. As I mentioned, God sent Our Lady of Guadalupe so that through Her we can know that God hears our prayer and our cry. Through her, he sends us consolation.
When our Lady of Guadalupe asked that a temple be built for her in Mexico City, she did not do it for herself with selfish intentions. She asked this so that people may give glory to God, and her children may present their afflictions, pains, sorrows, tribulations, because she wants to comfort them.
You and I know that the consolation of the Virgin of Guadalupe cannot be limited to the physical space of the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Mary of Guadalupe wanted to come here to Oxnard too. This temple that you built for our Blessed Mother has also become a sanctuary to which many people come, not only from Oxnard, but from many other places because they know that here they have a mother who listens to them, a mother who with her Motherly love and care for each one of us, listens and comforts us.
Let us also ask God to help us become agents of consolation for others. Especially when we meet with people who feel distressed, that we can give them consolation.