I recently shared reflections on the apparition accounts of our Lady of Guadalupe and of our Lady of Charity, through which we see Mary as a person who embodies radical hospitality. She reaches out to the outcasts in society to be the hero just as she herself was an underdog turned heroine. Not only in these two apparitions but in all her apparitions, she uses those who are cast out or who are marginalized to be the messengers of God’s word and truth. Her apparitions remind us that as God’s creations we are inherently good. By speaking with Juan Diego and appearing to Los Tres Juanes she returns the dignity that was taken away from their communities by imposing groups who treated them harshly and whose doctrines promulgated that they were less than and un-human. Cachita and la Morenita do not see class or skin color or height or language—Mary sees the divine spark within each person knowing that there is more to them than the characteristics used to separate and marginalize.
Her hospitality can serve as an example for our churches today. We should not be bickering over who is in and who is out, who is holy and who is sinful, who holds truth and who does not—like Mary we should follow the example of Christ who widened the circle of acceptance and embraced all without reservation or condition. In a country that prides itself for equality but that is rampant with inequality, Mary’s example of reaching out to the oppressed is a reminder that church should be a place where all people have a space at the table. Church is where LGBT individuals, Hispanics, the differently abled, individuals with HIV/AIDS, all people are not tolerated but celebrated for being made in the image of God.