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Homily of Bishop William Crean – Lourdes Grotto Mass – June 3rd 2024

Lourdes Grotto Mass
3rd June 2024

Come in Procession

My friends,

We stand on hallowed ground, ground sanctified by Our Lady and St. Bernadette, instruments of Gods love for the world and for us.

When we come here to pray our words frequently fail us, not for our lack of faith and trust – rather stillness and silence are more tilting to enable us to plum the depths of what the Lord has realised in this place through Our Lady and Bernadette.

Those of us who have had the privilege of returning to this hallowed ground understand and appreciate that mystery of the ways of Gods providence touch our lives, enrich our heart and spirit beyond our own understanding. We are healed and renewed through our pilgrim journey of faith and trust in the instruction of Our Lady and the courageous fidelity of Bernadette.

So where we come as we are, we are graced in and by the company, faith and friendship of one another.

For those experiencing Lourdes for the first time, one is first touched by the natural and unpretentious expression of faith and prayer. The symbols used to express the prayer within of light, water and procession are those used by people all over the world to give expression to our conviction and passion for what’s important and matters to us. The question often remains “why are we moved so deeply by the messages of our Lady and Bernadette?”

Our gospel today recalls for us the occasion of the Presentation of the Child in the Temple. It’s a real event in history through which we can glimpse the meaning of the then Child Jesus for the world and humanity.

It recalls the occasion when Mary and Joseph brought their newborn infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord as the law requires. We’re told of the two devout Jews Simeon and Anna who had waited long and patiently for the Messiah. Simeon we’re told took the child in his arms and proclaims “Now Master you can let your servant go in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel”.

Standing on this hallowed ground we join Simeon and Anna as we witness the unfolding of God’s ways in the world today through our lives and all those who place their faith and trust in the ways of his providence.

We all experience the frantic ways of society, ever impatient and in a hurry. The experience of pilgrimage and procession is a gentle teacher that life’s journey is best travelled by a continuous awareness of how those around us are finding the journey. The joy of reaching the destination is found not in the speed of the travel but in the assurance and consolation that no one was left behind.
This hallowed ground continues to speak to us in the silence.

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