Joyfully obeying the will of God...
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13, 2020): IS 61:9-11; PS 45:11-12,14-15,16-17; LK 11:27-28
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady of Fatima. It was in 1917 that she appeared several times to three shepherd children in a rural village in Portugal. Over a period of several months, she spoke with them six times, asking them to pray and make sacrifices, and to encourage others to do the same. Our Lady also told the children that she wanted people to pray for the conversion of Russia and to have a deeper devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She especially urged the recitation of the rosary every day. The final apparition in October is known as the Miracle of the Sun and thousands of witnesses in the area saw the sun spin or dance for several minutes. In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II added this Marian feast day to the Church calendar.
In the Gospel for this day, we hear Jesus being addressed by a woman in the crowd who, along with the others, has heard Him preach and seen Him heal the sick. She cries out in praise of Him – and His mother: “‘Blessed is the womb that carried You and the breasts at which You nursed.’ He replied, ‘Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it’” (Luke 11:27-28). Jesus greatly loves His mother Mary who gave Him birth and cared for Him just as all mothers do. But He also knows that she, beyond any other person before or since, has welcomed and joyfully obeyed the will of God. Our Lady of Fatima came to remind each one of us that we are truly God’s children. Moreover, we must strive to do and to be all He asks of us. We must put aside our personal desires and open ourselves to the Divine will. The Blessed Virgin will always lead us to her Son and, the more we venerate her and pray the rosary, the more deeply we will be united to our Savior.