Saturday, 11 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together as the whole Church the celebration of Mary, whom we know to be the Mother of God, of our Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to us mankind in various occasions throughout history, one of the latest of which is the famous apparition at the site of Lourdes in southern France.

Mary as Our Lady of Lourdes had appeared to the simple and humble woman, St. Bernadette Soubirous, a simple daughter of a miller to whom the Blessed Mother of our Lord had given the privilege of witnessing her apparition at Lourdes, then a garbage dump and a place of little importance. She appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in a series of visions, totalling eighteen times, in which she revealed to her, of the need for mankind to seek penance and forgiveness from their sins.

Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to St. Bernadette imploring mankind to atone for their sins and lead a prayerful and repentant life, and to that extent, she wanted St. Bernadette to pass on the messages she had given her to the people around her, that more and more people will heed her messages, and come to believe in the Lord through her. And through the spring which St. Bernadette dug up on the instruction from the Blessed Virgin, healing came upon many of those who came in faith.

Thus the famous healing miracles of Lourdes was brought forth, and many countless people had experienced the miracles of being healed by the holy and blessed water of the spring at the grotto of Lourdes. Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, many have received the healing from the Lord, and many of them had been healed from their bodily and spiritual afflictions, and became whole again.

What is the significance of this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Many of us have deep spiritual devotion to Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord, but many of us may not understand fully or even misunderstood why we have such a devotion. In the Scripture readings specially selected for this occasion, we see how God fulfilled the promises He had made to all of us mankind through one woman, that is Mary, who was to become the new Eve, as a renewal over the old Eve.

While the old Eve, the first woman had sinned and failed to overcome the temptations of the devil, and therefore by that action, with the first man Adam, sinned before the Lord and fall into the darkness, bringing all of mankind with them, the new Eve, Mary, showed her steadfastness and faith before God and before men alike. She is the epitome of faith and commitment, of purity and righteousness, showing all others how to become a true disciple of the Lord.

And as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has the privilege of being a mother, to have her Son listening to her. As we see in the reading on the Wedding at Cana, which many of us should be quite familiar with, Jesus listened to His mother, who pleaded for the sake of the wedding couple who were in trouble as they ran out of wine during the celebrations.

At that time, for someone to not have provided enough wine and provisions for a celebration as important as a wedding would have been a very major mishap and a very embarrassing moment for both the bride and the groom and their respective families. That was why Mary wanted to help them, and she knew that her Son could help them, but at first He refused to do so, because it was then not yet His time to reveal Himself.

But Mary continued to persist in her attempt, and asked the servants to listen to what Jesus would tell them. And therefore, Jesus performed His first miracle there at Cana, turning the jugs of water into sweetest and highest quality wine, which saved the wedding couple from the predicament. That was how Mary saved the couple and through her intercession, they were rescued by the Lord, Who showed His love and mercy to them.

Mary is the one whom God had promised to us mankind, to our forefathers, when He stood before them and Satan, coming in between them and the deceiver, promising that while Satan would hound the sons and daughters of mankind, becoming a thorn at their side for many ages, but deliverance will come from God through the Woman, and through her, the Saviour Lord that was to come into the world, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Blessed Mary mother of God, who appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous over one and a half centuries ago, we are all called to heed her calling, that we should turn towards God, and do penance and reparation for our sins and wickedness. Today as we remember the moment of the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, we ask our Blessed Mother, Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, to intercede for the sake of all who were sick, suffering and dying.

And not least of all, for all of us as well. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, as although we may be perfectly healthy in the body and mind, but because of our sins, we have been made diseased and corrupted in our hearts and souls. We need help from the Lord to make us whole again, pure and clean from all the afflictions of our sins. We need to pray for each other, that God will come to us and bring us from the darkness of our sins and into the light of His grace.

Let us all follow the example of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, in her faith, piety and dedication to the Lord our God. Let us imitate her in all of her examples, in all that she had done to obey the will of God, that through her faith, so many good things had come into the world, the greatest of which is the salvation we find in our Lord Jesus, her Son. O, Our Lady of Lourdes, Mary, mother of our God, pray for us sinners and those who are sickened by sin, that we will be blessed with His healing grace and be made worthy of His glorious eternal life. Amen.

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