Fr. Roger J. Landry
Espirito Santo Parish, Fall River, MA
Mass for the Woman’s Rosary Sodality
27th Sunday of OT, Year C
Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
October 7, 2001
Hb1:2-3;2:2-4; 2 tim1:6-8,13-14; Lk 17:5-10
Homiletic notes and outline for Portuguese homily
1) Feast of OL of the Rosary
• Date not by coincidence
• October 7, 1571
• Battle of Lepanto
• Forces of Group of Muslims against Western Civilization of Europe
• Immense importance in the history of the world
• The Muslims outnumbered the Christians. Initial messengers coming to Rome were saying the Christian forces would be massacred.
• Pope St. Pius V organized the response, got the kings of Christians nations together.
• During the battle, the Pope brought Christians from Rome to Basilica of SMM to pray. During the decades of the Rosary, he was receiving images. At the end he didn’t know if they were coming from God, the devil, or just his imagination. Four months later, when the sailors returned, he and all who heard him realized that he had been receiving visions of exactly what happened.
• The Christians were losing, but they kept praying the Rosary and eventually, as dawn occurred, the Pope saw that these prayers had succeeded and that the Christians began to defeat the Muslims. They eventually won completely, and saved all of western civilization from being dominated by the Muslims.
• The following year, on the first anniversary, Pope St. Pius V declared October 7 the feast of OL of Victory under the title of OL of the Rosary.
2) From the beginning, the Rosary has been associated with prayers for peace. From the beginning OL has been associated with prayers for peace. That’s why, in our present conflict, the Pope, in his audience last week in St. Peter’s Square, asked all Catholics to pray the Rosary for peace in this world and for victory over terrorism and the devil.
3) Why the Rosary? Why prayers to Our Lady? We learned that with the messages that OL of Fatima gave to the three pastorinhos in Fatima. After the image of all the destruction in the future, the solution to this problem was devotion to her immaculate heart. Why that? Because it is a pure heart, which as Jesus tells us, sees God in all things. It is a heart that loves. It is a heart that says yes to God in all things. And we need that heart.
4) Jesus said in the Gospel that he came to give us peace, but he said that he does not give peace as the world gives peace. To the world, peace is the absence of war. In God’s eyes, peace is peace with Him. Jesus came to give us the definitive peace treaty with God. All absence of peace comes from sin. He came to free us from sin. It is our duty to bring that peace to others. He made us free and some can use their freedom to hate, to do evil. Some did on September 11. Jesus didn’t promise to give us a worldly peace. He promised to give us a peace with God that the world cannot give and no one can take away. And if we live in this peace, we have no fear, and we can transform the world.
5) Again all lack of peace comes from sin. Imagine a world in which people tried to keep their peace with God. A world in which people really didn’t try to sin. There would be no murders, no hatred, no lying, no stealing (furto), no broken families through adultery and divorce, parents and children would respect each other, our hearts would be pure of desires for others’ spouses or property. We’d put God first and not money, or sex, or power. Do you think the world would be more peaceful? Of course it would! That’s the peace God has given us; we just have to receive it.
6) We need to become more and more like our Lady in saying yes to all God wants. None of us will win the Nobel peace price, but we may change the hearts of those who might want to do acts of hatred, one heart at a time. We, like St. Francis, are called to be instruments of peace, instruments of the prince of peace, Jesus. Tomorrow is the peace procession and prayers for peace. What a great way to come together to be changed ourselves, pray for ourselves, for an increase in faith and trust, so that we might be transformed and transform the world. It is also an opportunity to pray to God so that mountains of hatred and animosity can be moved. Please join us tomorrow for the peace procession.
7) We finish by focusing on the Mass. This is the definitive peace treaty between God and man, in which we receive Jesus inside. If we say yes to him, to have him transform us, we can become more like him and more like his mother, the Queen of Peace, the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.