Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II
Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
October 7, 2016
Gal 3:7-14, Ps 111, Lk 11:15-26
To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below:
The following points were considered in today’s homily:
- On the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, we can ponder how we should relate to her through the gift of the Rosary, which St. Thomas Aquinas called a “compendium of the Gospel.” The whole of Revelation can be found in the Rosary and the Rosary can help us to ponder and interiorize with Mary that gift of Revelation. Today we can see a little bit that is done in the readings.
- In St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, Paul identifies that the Judaized Christians in Galatia were behaving as if they were saved by the completion of the works of the Mosaic law rather than by faith. Sometimes we can become routinized in our spiritual practices, too, such that we think that by the very fact that we’re doing them, rather than how we’re praying them, we’re pleasing God and growing in his image and likeness. No, we need to pray with faith. With regard to the Rosary, it’s not a magical accumulation of 53 Hail Mary’s, 6 Our Fathers and Glory Bes, that changes us, but the faith by which we say those vocal prayers and ponder the mysteries we’re called to contemplate. Do we pray the Rosary with faith?
- In the Gospel, we see a couple of things. First, we see Christ’s saving strategy to unite and the devil’s strategy to divide. Christ during the Last Supper prayed for a unity resembling the Trinity, whereas the devil seeks to divide his house. And Jesus says we either gather with him or we’re scattering. There’s no middle ground. So when we pray the Rosary, do we gather in our prayers all those in need, like Mary, the Mother of all the Living, loves all her children? Likewise Jesus at the end says that the devil, after having been forced out of a person, is angry about it and returns with others; therefore we have to be always vigilant. And the Rosary helps us with this vigilance, praying each day together with the one who stomps on the devil’s head. She helps us to remain faithful, to keep saying fiat, to trust in God’s providence against the wily lies of the evil one.
- What I’d like to focus on most today through, in this Jubilee of Mercy, is how the Rosary, as a compendium of the Gospel, is a compendium of God’s message and work of mercy. It’s important for us to ponder the mysteries of the Rosary with Mary from within this key of Mercy. Each mystery has something to say about Mercy. In the Joyful mysteries, we ponder how God became man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin to “save us from our sins,” as Jesus’ name indicates, how Mary’s Magnificat praises God’s mercy from age to age, how in the baby Jesus we contemplate “Mercy Mild, God and Sinners Reconciled,” how each of us, like Mary, is called to share in that Mission of Mercy through allowing our hearts to be pierced as Jesus’ was on the Cross, how in the Finding we are called to be as focused on the Father’s business of mercy as Jesus was. In the Luminous mysteries, we can ponder the mystery baptism as the first sacrament of God’s mercy, how marriage teaches us how to love and open ourselves to God’s love as we seek to do whatever Christ tells us, how he constantly calls us to conversion to enter his kingdom, how his Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of the ultimate end of God’s mercy and summons us to it through listen and obey his Son, how he gives us his body and blood in the Holy Eucharist for the remission of sins. In the Sorrowful Mysteries, we ponder just how much Jesus was willing to endure to have mercy on us. In the Glorious Mysteries, we see his triumph over sin and the life to which our response to mercy is meant to lead us. Every reconciliation is meant to be a resurrection, when “my son was dead and has been brought back to life again,” which is why Jesus founded the Sacrament of Mercy on Easter evening. The Holy Spirit descends for the forgiveness of sins and so that we can proclaim with tongues of fire God’s gift of mercy. Mary’s assumption and coronation is meant to show us how we will participate by God’s mercy in his life, and Mary from heaven is constantly reigning by serving us and helping us to respond to her Son’s gift of mercy, something she’s shown in her appearances in Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima.
- Even though we can find the compendium of mercy throughout the 20 mysteries we have, I think we can go beyond it, too. When St. John Paul II gave us the Luminous Mysteries in 2002, he said he was doing so because he thought that in order to be a true “Compendium of the Gospel,” it needed to include meditations on Christ’s public ministry. There was a big hole — from the time Jesus was 12 until he was 33 — in the consideration of Christ’s life from Mary’s perspective. The new mysteries, the Pope wrote in his exhortation, would “bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary,” give it “fresh life” and “enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary’s place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory.” John Paul II’s words, and the fruitfulness of contemplating the Mysteries of Light, also led me to begin to think whether there might be other mysteries that would help me to bring out the Christological depth of the Rosary even more, so that on those days when I would be praying more than the five mysteries prescribed for the day, I might be able to seek to assimilate other aspects of the life of the blessed Fruit of Mary’s womb. So I began to compose sets of other mysteries from Christ’s public mystery. I’ve written a couple of different articles on these Mysteries, but, in this Jubilee of Mercy, I’d like to share with you that I have a set of “Mysteries of Mercy,” in which I ponder the Calling of Matthew, the Double Healing of the Paralytic, The Encounter with Zacchaeus, the Woman Caught in Adultery and the Woman in Simon the Pharisee’s House. I also have another, called the “Parables of Mercy,” in which I consider The Lost Sheep and Coin, the Two Debtors, the Unforgiving Servant, the Rich Man and Lazarus, and the Prodigal Son. I’ve been contemplating these mysteries a little more during this Jubilee! I offer them to you in case they might help you to look at Christ’s Mission of Mercy more fruitfully with the same Marian gaze with which we contemplate the other mysteries of the Rosary.
- In many Churches, like the two at which I was privileged to be pastor, there was a scheme to the Stained Glass Windows, one based on the Mysteries of the Rosary, to show that the Rosary leads us to the altar and, contemplating and receiving the Blessed Fruit of Mary’s womb at Mass is meant to help us relive his mysteries with Mary in the world. As we prepare to receive him today, we ask Our Lady of the Rosary, to whom we repeatedly ask to “pray for us now” to pray for us to pray this Mass with the same contemplative heart she prayed it in the house of St. John and always related to Christ her Son.
The readings for today’s Mass were:
Reading 1 GAL 3:7-14
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham.
Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.
And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Alleluia JN 12:31B-32
The prince of this world will now be cast out,
and when I am lifted up from the earth
I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 11:15-26
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”