February 4, 2018 – 5th, (Year B)
●● Job 9:1-4, 6-7 ●● Psalm 147 ●● 1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23 ●● Mark 1:29-39 ●●
[__01__] When I was about 20 years old - twenty – my friend’s younger brother – who was about 10 at the time, was eager to share an incident in which someone had been rescued from a car accident. In his account of the story, he told us that a “guy” rescued someone from a car accident.
We asked about this heroic individual. Who was this guy – and specifically – how old was he? Was a boy – a kid like you ….or a grown up.
Not knowing how to answer this he said – well, he was like you. Meaning at that time we were neither children nor – in his estimation – fully grown up. Pretty accurate.
[__02__] When a child or young person reports an incident we often want to check it out , verify the details, find out what is true, talk to the other parents (grown-ups), teacher, coach …
What really happened?
[__03__] As we observe the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, we recall an incident – and an incident report – from a young person. This is the apparition / appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is depicted in the stone tile icon above our altar.
We observe that Bernadette – Bernadette of Soubirous – was Grotto
[__04__] [[ In a cave of Massabielle (a mile outside of town), and several hundred miles from city of Paris – in southwestern France -- Bernadette Soubirous – whom we know as Saint Bernadette of Lourdes – as a 14 year old peasant girl encountered the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 11, 1858.
She was out for her regular work of gathering firewood, an appropriate task in a cold February.
While on her route, Bernadette went a bit out of the way to encounter this vision described by Bernadette as a “beautiful lady”.
This vision continued in 18 apparitions. Bernadette asked about the identity of the lady and was told – and repeated the words in her own dialect –
__Que soy L’Immaculado concepciou, I am the Immaculate Conception ___
Which is rendered/translated in French and inscribed in our Mosaic of Lourdes above our altar as …”Je suis L’immaculee concepcion”.
I am the Immaculate Conception. ]]
[__05__] After this incident, the 14 year old Bernadette returns to tell others that she saw a beautiful lady and eventually that this beautiful lady told her to tell the priests, to build a chapel there.
This chapel would later become the Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes which welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
We celebrate this Mass in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes and consider how we are called to live lives that are both CONVINCING …and CONSISTENT.
[__06__] 1st – CONVINCING.
Was Bernadette convincing anyone in the early going after the incident? Not so much.
It can be frustrating for any of us to try to relate an experience which another person either does not understand – or acknowledge – certain key details.
We may – at times – go about trying to convince other people of our opinion, style, experience. We may judge our friends or acquaintances based on whether they “get us” or “get our sense of humor”. In other words, have I convinced them.
[__07__] Similarly, we gravitated toward friends and acquaintances with whom we share certain insights, view. We are convinced that they are correct, logical and can be trusted.
[__08__] Bernadette of Soubirous – in 1858 – was not very convincing, to anyone in her family, neighborhood, vicinity, archdiocese, et cetera, et cetera.
So, she did not seem reliable, just a kid who said she saw a beautiful lady. And, on top of this, when she was asked – for more detail – the name, Bernadette reported that the lady said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”
[__09__] But, it merited investigation and, over time – Bernadette was a reputable witness and Lourdes has been a place of miraculous healings.
[__10__] 2nd CONSISTENCY.
Bernadette was convincing because she was consistent.
What enables you and I to be authentic witnesses to the intercession of our Blessed Mother, to the Resurrection of our Lord, to the Gospel, is our consistency.
We may, at times, feel frustrated because we are not able to convince or persuade others, or obtain evidence of such persuasion.
Yet, we are called to be disciples, to discipline each day, in our consistent – prayer – talk – conversation with Jesus each day, we are called first to become believers – convinced – ourselves of his mercy, of his live, of his forgiveness and pardon for ourselves.
In this regard, we gain consistency, we establish a pattern, and we can describe him – sketch him – make an image of Christ and the Gospel – to others by what we say and do.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for Us! [__fin__]