Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
When the Spanish invaders landed in Mexico in 1519, their skin color and facial features were obviously different from those of the native population. When the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531, she appeared as a mestiza, that is, a woman of mixed race. That led to the Virgin of Guadalupe being referred to as "La Morenita"--the Brown Lady. (If you go online, you'll find that many Mexican businesses are named "La Morenita.")
The language used by the Lady as she spoke to Juan Diego was not Spanish but Nuhuatl--the language of the people. The image imprinted on the tilma of Juan Diego clearly shows the maternity band, signifying that the woman is pregnant.
Prior to the apparition at the hill of Tepeyac, the Catholic Church was able to convert only a few of the natives. Within seven years of the apparition, there were over 8 million converts.
Holy cards printed in the US typically show Jesus as having fair hair and white skin. I have known Catholics in the US who get upset when other cultures show Jesus as being African or Asian or Native American--little realizing that their own images of Jesus have been culturally formed.
During Advent, we celebrate the fact that Jesus came "as one like us." As the Church continues to spread that Good News, it is important that we help people see that Jesus is not a foreigner--He comes to dwell among them and to share their lives.
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