Homily February 11th, 2023 

Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time – Mt 8:1-10

            In today’s Gospel, we heard Jesus say “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.” That word for pity is a very powerful one: the word literally comes from “splanxna, ‘the inward parts,’ the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys,” the guts.[1] In other words, in seeing the crowds, Jesus was moved in His depths, deep within; this compassion didn’t simply remain as an emotion, but rather was translated into action, giving food to the hungry.

            We can say that the Mother of Jesus, Mary, also participates in this loving compassion. Today we celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes, a true expression of God’s loving mercy towards His people as His healing power is granted to thousands upon thousands of pilgrims. Really, though, there are many titles of our Lady that reflect Her pity and mercy. For instance, we have Our Lady of Compassion, Nuestra Señora de la Piedad, which is an image of Our Lady with the deceased Christ on her lap. On the one hand, we think of how Mary embraces, not just Jesus, but all of us, who are Her children, especially when we suffer. On the other hand, we’re reminded that we, too, need to be moved to compassion when we think of how Mary suffered with Christ; we also need to change our lives, to live as worthy sons and daughters of so noble a mother.

            We also have Our Lady of Mercy, a 1218 apparition in which Mary begged for the ransom and rescue of Christians. For this reason, she is sometimes called Our Lady of Ransom, a devotion promoted by the Mercedarian order. Here we see how Mary is concerned with those who are often forgotten, the least and last. She is truly “moved with pity,” as Her Son was: like mother, like son.

            Today, as we recall Our Blessed Mother, let us ask for the grace to grow in our trust in Her love and mercy for Her children, and for the grace to live in accord with the love and mercy.

[1] See HELPS Word-studies: Cognate: 4697 splagxnízomai.



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