Dear Pilgrims:

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a special place where, with regularity, is filled with people who come with stories of great gratitude for Our Lady’s intercession. An untold amount of individuals and families come to this sacred place with “impossible” medical cases that physicians had told them were incurable and yet many people attest to the many miracles that have happened. Some of by brother priests have asked me on occasions: “Do you really believe that they have been miraculously healed?” I responded to them: “Why wouldn’t I? It is not for me to judge but to receive their testimony and gratitude and offer it up to the Lord at Mass.”

If we notice in the Gospel today that the leper who was healed was then sent to the priests to give thanks to God. The experience of his suffering no longer allowed him to return to his old way of life, but had transformed him completely since he had a profound experience of God’s mercy. In fact, he now must live with the obligation to help others come to the knowledge of God’s mercy in faith. God has transformed the man healed to a vessel of Truth. His witness comes from his lived experience that many can hear and obtain encouragement. The one who has been healed is called to be in solidarity with those who suffer since they know first hand their experience.

Perhaps, many who suffer today with terminal illness may ask: “Why doesn’t God heal me?” I invite you not to be disheartened. God uses our illness to manifest to all of humanity. It is through your faith and suffering that Christ offers all sinners an opportunity to a moment of charity. En helping you, they attend to Christ who lives in you. Perhaps, you feel that your body is falling a part, but the souls of many who surround you are in worse condition and it is through helping you that they can begin to heal. In other words, God puts all things to good use and converts our illness into a fountain of grace for all.

It is important to remember the words of our Lord when addressing the leper. The leper asked: “If you will it, you can heal me.” Jesus responded: “I will it, be healed.” Jesus wills our healing in all aspects of our lives: body, mind and soul. He wishes to be whole, young, happy, luminous. That is why he suffered and died for us.

Very Rev. Esequiel Sanchez