(c) Mary TV
St. Robert Bellarmine
Dear Family of Mary!
“Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray for my intentions so that I may help you. Little children, pray the Rosary and meditate the mysteries of the Rosary because, in your life, you are also passing through joys and sorrows. In this way, you are transforming the mysteries into your life, because life is a mystery until you place it into God’s hands. In this way, you will have the experience of faith like Peter who met Jesus and the Holy Spirit filled his heart. Little children, you are also called to witness by living the love with which, day by day, God wraps you with my presence. Therefore, little children, be open and pray with the heart in faith. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (September 25, 2019)
Life is a mystery until you place it into God’s hands!
I want to share with you the transcript of Fr. Leon Pereira’s homily given on September 15, 2020 in Medjugorje, the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. I can’t resist!! It is such a good homily! And our shipmate, Stephanie, transcribed it for us! So, even though it is long, I think reading it will be very helpful. Thank you, Fr. Leon! Thank you, Stephanie!
English Mass Homily
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Fr. Leon Pereira
The Lord Be With You!
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke
At that time, the father and mother of Jesus marveled at what was being said about him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “Behold, This child is set for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign of this that was spoken against, (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of the heart of many may be revealed.
that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
When I was going through a particularly bad period of my life back in London, one of the things I used to do was… one of the good things I used to do was to go round The National Gallery – because it’s free, and also because I know very little about art, and arty things, and music, and all that; and I thought I should learn a bit more. And there’s a painting there which really captivated me. It’s by Giovanni Bellini and it’s called the, “Madonna of the Meadow.”
Now, Bellini had a lot of practice painting Our Lady. And this is a particularly fine example – so we’re told on the blurb below the painting; a fine example of his work. In the foreground is Our Lady adoring the Infant Christ who is asleep in her lap. And around them there’s cattle and humans resting from the heat of the day. Beyond them, there’s a walled city on a hilltop gleaming in the sunlight, and the trees sprout vertically, calm against a pale blue sky. And it looks simply like a beautiful day in the meadows – a summer’s day.
But there’s more hidden in the painting. Near Our Lady, there’s a clump of bare trees, their limbs forking out in the shape of a cross. And on one of them, a vulture is perched – a symbol of death. And at the base of that tree, a Pelican. Now the Pelican is fighting a snake. Remember, the Pelican is an image of Jesus. You know, the ancients believed that the pelican fed its own blood to its offspring. So, pelican naturally became an image of Jesus who gives His own blood to us to drink. So, this Pelican fights a snake; so, it’s Christ fighting satan and death.
But, closer in the foreground, it’s even more unsettling. Our Lady’s eyes are downcast, not in adoration, but because she’s weeping. And the child on her lap is not sleeping, but he’s dead. This is like an infant Pietà – you know that famous sculpture in Saint Peter’s; Our Lady holding the dead body of Jesus, clutching the cold corpse – but here it’s portrayed as though it’s the Baby Jesus that’s dead and she’s holding him like this, and weeping.
Now this juxtaposition of happiness and sorrow – it’s a beautiful summer’s day, and all these wonderful things going on in the background; an infant child with a dead man. This juxtaposition may strike us as odd, but it is in the Bible. When Mary and Joseph present the Infant Christ in the temple, Simeon prophecies both good and bad things about this child. And he adds cryptically to Mary, “A sword shall pierce your own soul, too.” Mary’s life, in other words, will be sometimes happy and sometimes sad; which is the sort of life that all of us have. But her life is caught up intimately with Christ’s. Her life will ultimately be glorious and glorified. In other words, Mary’s life is like the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious.
In his letter on the Rosary, St. John Paul II said, “The Rosary is meditating on the Face of Christ through the Eyes of Mary.” And he encouraged us all to pray the Rosary for peace and to safeguard families. He encouraged families to pray this Rosary, and for all of us to spread this devotion. To help meditate on the Life of Christ, he even introduced five new mysteries: the Luminous Mysteries that focus on events in Christ’s ministry.
Now, when we pray the Rosary, we begin to grasp the mysteries of our faith. It is in the Fourth Joyful Mystery that we hear the gospel that we heard today, where Simeon tells Our Lady, “A sword will pierce your own soul, too.” And then, in the Second Luminous Mystery – the Wedding Feast at Cana – when the mother of Jesus tells him that the wine has run out, Jesus says, “Woman, what is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” The hour which has not yet come is the hour when the Lord will be glorified by the Father; that is, when he is lifted up on the cross dying in agony – when he will draw all things to himself.
So, at Cana, Mary is the cause – the occasion – of Jesus’ first sign – his first miracle. The signs of the Kingdom break through because of her. But because of this, she also knows that she is sending him to his “hour.” In other words, at Cana, Jesus is saying, “Do you consent to my hour? Are you sending me to die? Are you saying you will stand at the foot of my cross and watch me die, and have a sword pierce your own soul as well?”
Remember what I said yesterday, “There is no Christ without the Cross. There is no Kingdom, there is no Heaven, without the Cross; except through the Cross.” And it’s on Calvary that this “hour” is finally fulfilled. And we pondered this in the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery. Here, Jesus and Mary are associated with each other, just as they were at Cana. As the Second Vatican Council put it; it says that, “Mary faithfully persevered in her union with her son unto the cross, where in keeping with the Divine Plan, she stood enduring with her only begotten the intensity of his suffering.”
There are few griefs in this world greater than a mother’s grief. And few griefs greater than the grief of the Mother of God. Mary stands at the foot of the cross, and just as Moses struck the rock in the desert and out flowed water for all the people of Israel, Christ is struck in death with a lance, and from his side flows out water and blood. And in this moment, Simeon’s prophecy is fulfilled, “A sword will pierce your own soul, too, just as your son shall be pierced.”
The story doesn’t end here though. It is not yet finished. This is a spoiler alert. Spoilers! We are caught up in this “mystery,” because the Rosary is not completed. The Fifth Glorious Mystery; the full title of the Fifth Glorious Mystery in the Dominican Tradition – and we all know the Dominican Tradition is the right one – is, “The Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven and the Glory of All the Saints.”
The reason for this is… actually, in the Middle Ages, the Coronation was the Fourth Glorious Mystery. We used to pray The Assumption and Coronation of Our Lady as the Fourth. And the Fifth one was The Glory of All the Saints, Judgment Day – that was the Fifth Glorious Mystery.
But now that Our Lady’s Coronation is moved to the Fifth, it is still associated with this idea of Judgment Day and The Glory of All the Saints. Sometimes you’ll see in books people say, “Oh, it’s The Glory of All the Saints that Mary is crowned in Heaven.” That is true. But that glory is not complete until all of us here are in Heaven. In other words, when we pray the Fifth Glorious Mystery, that’s the mystery that all of us are caught up in now. We are all living the Fifth Glorious Mystery, right now. From now until you die – this is the Fifth Glorious Mystery for every single one of us here.
So, the Holy Father, St. John Paul, reminded us that the Rosary accompanies us in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. So, when we meditate on these mysteries – there’s no simpler way than the Rosary – we come to imbibe, assimilate these mysteries into our own lives. We are caught up in the mysteries of Christ’s life and of Mary’s life. With him, we have died and risen again, through Baptism. And we look in hope for his Second Coming. Our lives, like the lives of Jesus and Mary, they’re sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes terribly sad. But ultimately, glorious. They are sometimes also luminous, especially on Thursdays! Okay.
But because we are caught up in the Rosary; the Rosary is our life. It is a mystery and a wonder that Our Lady gave the Rosary to St. Dominic a little over 800 years ago. Such a beautiful and simple way for us to match our lives to Jesus and Mary; to know that we are never alone. This is a great, great consolation.
I often think about that Korean woman; you know, who’s husband paid for the statues of Our Lady: the one on Apparition Hill and the one in the front of the church – and how she was agonizing because of her child who was dying. And when she went up Cross Mountain and she saw – well, this is not a Mystery of the Rosary; well, it’s part of the Mystery of the Rosary – she saw one of the Stations, the station where Jesus meets his agonizing mother.
You know, basically the sequence that you heard today: The Stabat Mater. At the cross, her station keeping. When the mother and the child meet, and they are unable to even embrace because he’s so covered in wounds, that she would hurt him and all his wounds would bleed again. She can’t even touch him.
Remember the Stations of the Cross, the Meditations of St. Alphonsus Liguori? You all know – the older ones among you – you all know it by heart. Remember?
Okay. Thank you for proving your age. You’re as old as I am at least. But, remember what it says for that mystery: Two souls kiss, that is all. They can’t even touch because of that agony.Today, on this memorial day of Our Lady of Sorrows, this is what we are looking at: The Agony of Jesus and Mary, and Mary not even being able to touch her child. This is not telling us, “Look, you know, your own sorrows are nothing in comparison.” But it is saying our own sorrows are caught up in this sorrow; and through this, our own sorrows also have their healing.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!