The Three Things This Pilgrimage Has Taught Us, September 20, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Hotel Panorama, Lourdes, France
Votive Mass of Our Lady, Health of the Sick
Pilgrimage to the Saints and Shrines of France
September 20, 2013
Is 53:1-5.7-10, Ps 103, Jn 19:25-27

To listen to an audio recording of this homily, please click below:


The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • Like Midnight Mass or a nocturnal vigil of the Resurrection, getting up at 2:15 for a final Mass on a pilgrimage is a fitting exclamation point for our pilgrimage, focused on the continued incarnation of Jesus in time and living with the joy of Christ’s eternal victory.
  • We could ponder many lessons God has taught us along this pilgrimage. The first is the importance of prayer. Mary sent St. Catherine Labouré’s guardian angel to awaken her in the middle of the night to join her in prayer. At LaSalette, Mary asked Maximilian and Melanie to pray. Here in Lourdes, Mary prayed with Bernadette 18 times and wanted a house of prayer and pilgrimage built to continue the prayer until literally our own day. We’ve now prayed for 10 straight days much more than many of us are used to. Let’s keep that prayer going!
  • The second lesson is about pilgrimage. Our life of faith is a journey from baptism to, hopefully, the celestial Jerusalem, but we have to keep moving. Jesus is constantly calling us to grow in this way, to head up to Mt. Tabor with him — one of the aspects of this pilgrimage — and to head up to Mt. Calvary as well. As we finish one pilgrimage, we begin the next phase of our pilgrimage of life.
  • The third lesson is about the fact that we are called to pray together and to journey together, together with each other, together with the communion of saints, so many of whom we have encountered throughout our journey. Let’s continue to do both.
  • With this votive Mass of Mary, Health of the Sick, we ponder that she always accompanies us, especially when we are suffering, trying to help us learn to accompany others in their suffering, as we’ve observed so beautifully here in Lourdes. She accompanies us praying with us and praying for the good intentions we have, sometimes when we’re aware of it, other times when she intercedes like she did in Cana, without our even being aware. At the end of this pilgrimage, we thank her for journeying with us to this point and we thank her in advance for her commitment to continue to guide us on the rest of the pilgrimage to her Son’s eternal right side.


The readings for today’s Mass were:

A Reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah (Is 53:1-5, 7-10)
Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. [But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.] If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm — “My Soul, bless the Lord, who heals all your ills” (Ps 103)

Bless the LORD, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God,

Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills,
Delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion,

The LORD does righteous deeds, brings justice to all the oppressed.
His ways were revealed to Moses, mighty deeds to the people of Israel.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.
He has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve.

Alleluia — “There by the cross of Jesus stood his mother, firm in faith, strong in hope, burning with love.”

A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to John (19:25-27)
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. The Gospel of the Lord.