Thursday, 11 February 2021 : 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, today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, celebrating one of the most well-known Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, which happened over a century and half ago at the small town in southern France, now renowned all over the whole world for its miraculous spring water, the water of the grotto of Lourdes.

Every year, millions of pilgrims came to Lourdes to visit the sacred site of the Apparition remembering the moment when Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous at the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes. Our Lady of Lourdes revealed herself to St. Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception and proved that she was indeed genuine and not a false apparation. Mary came to show herself to call her adopted sons and daughters, all of mankind back towards her Son, their Lord and Saviour.

At that time, as was with many other occurrences of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there had been degradation and decline of the faith in many of the communities of the faithful. Just as the other famous Apparition at Fatima, which happened when the world was engulfed in the Great War and Russia was about to begin many decades of persecution of the faithful by the atheist Communists, thus at Lourdes at that time, the Blessed Mother of God appeared to warn all those who have veered away from the path of the Lord.

For at that time, the influence and hold of the faith over many of the people decline precipituously and rapidly, as many rebelled against the authority and the teachings of the Church, preferring to follow the ways of the world. The Lord was no longer the centre and the focus of the lives of many among the people as the tide of secularism and infidelity continued to take root within the community. Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to remind the people to be faithful towards the Lord and to listen to Him.

After all, it was what she herself had told the servants at the time of the wedding at Cana, when the Lord Jesus first performed a miracle publicly. Although initially the Lord did not want to help the wedding couple then in dire straits and in the verge of major humiliation due to them running out of wine in their own wedding celebration, but Mary insisted to help, and she told the servants to do whatever the Lord told them to do.

We can see even there at that moment how Mary had shown so much concern and care for the needs of others, reaching out for others who are in need and helping them, acting as intercessors and guide for them on the way to her Son, Jesus Our Lord and Saviour. She wants us to follow the Lord and to listen to Him, to trust in Him and allow Him to lead us, and she herself is the perfect and best of all the disciples and followers, following her Son throughout His ministry.

Now, all those people who came to Lourdes, all of them came beaten and broken, diseased and weak, either in the body and physique or in the spiritual and in the mind. They came seeking God’s mercy, love and kindness as He expressed it through His mother, Our Lady of Lourdes who helped and guided so many souls of people back towards her Son. She made available God’s wonderful graces through her constant intercession and by leading us all to the right path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we celebrate this feast of Our Lady of Lourdes therefore, let us all look towards the Lord with a renewed faith and commitment, guided, led and inspired by His mother, Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, ever immaculate in life, dedicated and committed to God, our wonderful role model and inspiration. Let us all be exemplary in our own actions as well, so that we may be inspiration to our fellow brothers and sisters ourselves.

Can we be the guiding light for so many others who are still seeking the Lord and wanting to listen to Him and know Him? We are all called to a life of genuine discipleship and faith, and each and every one of us can play our part in actively leading a good and virtuous Christian living at all times. May God bless us always in our good endeavours and efforts, and may He, through His mother, Our Lady of Lourdes, continue to reach out to us and seek us. Amen.

Thursday, 11 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Mark 7 : 24-30

At that time, when Jesus left the place where He rebuked the Pharisees, He went to the border of the Tyrian country. There He entered a house, and did not want anyone to know He was there, but He could not remain hidden. A woman, whose small daughter had an evil spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet. Now this woman was a pagan, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she begged Him to drive the demon out of her daughter.

Jesus told her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to puppies.” But she replied, “Sir, even the puppies under the table eat the crumbs from the children’s bread.” Then Jesus said to her, “You may go your way; because of such a response, the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

And when the woman went home, she found her child lying in bed, and the demon gone.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

John 2 : 1-11

At that time, three days after Jesus called Nathanael, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with His disciples. When all the wine provided for the celebration had been served, and they had run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and Me? My hour has not yet come.” However His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars, set there for ritual washing as practiced by the Jews; each jar could hold twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. Then Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the steward.” So they did. The steward tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing from where it had come; for only the servants who had drawn the water knew. So, he called the bridegroom to tell him, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when people have drunk enough, he serves that which is ordinary. Instead you have kept the best wine until the end.”

This miraculous sign was the first, and Jesus performed it at Cana in Galilee. In this way He let His glory appear, and His disciples believed in Him.

Thursday, 11 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will ear the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Judith 13 : 18bcde, 19

My daughter, may the Most High God bless you more than all women on earth. And blessed be the Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has led you to behead the leader of our enemies.

Never will people forget the confidence you have shown; they will always remember the power of God.

Thursday, 11 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Genesis 2 : 18-25

YHVH God said, “It is not good for Man to be alone; I will give him a helper who will be like him.” Then YHVH God formed from the earth all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air and brought them to Man to see what he would call them; and whatever Man called every living creature, that was its name.

So Man gave names to all the cattle, the birds of the air and to every beast of the field. But he did not find among them a helper like himself. Then YHVH God caused a deep sleep to come over Man and he fell asleep. He took one of his ribs and filled its place with flesh. The rib which YHVH God had taken from Man He formed into a woman and brought her to the man.

The man then said, “Now this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken from man.” That is why man leaves his father and mother and is attached to his wife, and with her becomes one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed.

Alternative reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Isaiah 66 : 10-14c

Rejoice for Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her. Be glad with her, rejoice with her, all you who were in grief over her, that you may suck of the milk from her comforting breasts, that you may drink deeply from the abundance of her glory.

For this is what YHVH says : I will send her peace, overflowing like a river; and the nations’ wealth, rushing like a torrent towards her. And you will be nursed and carried in her arms and fondled upon her lap. As a son comforted by his mother, so will I comfort you. At the sight of this, your heart will rejoice; like grass, your bones will flourish.