Saturday Vigil: 4:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am & 11:30am

Fr. Anthony's Message

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Some of you may know that I have a deep devotion to St. Bernadette and the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. This devotion goes back to my childhood when I saw the movie, “The Song of Bernadette”, from that time on; I knew I could always go to Our Blessed Mother with all my prayers. I have been moved by the miracles that have taken place at Lourdes for these past 150 years and they continue today. I know of one person who was healed at Lourdes and some of our own parishioners have made the pilgrimage to be washed in the healing waters. We have had parishioners who have gone over to serve as volunteers to help others who have come in hope of a miracle. Each year a few of our Seminarians go over as volunteers and I hope myself in 2020 to go over as a volunteer. If you have known anyone who has visited Lourdes, you most likely have received blessed water that others have brought back from their pilgrimage. These healing waters refresh us and make us new again.

The Ten Lepers in today’s Gospel from Luke 17:11-19, were in search of a miracle. Their search reached its completion and destiny when they found Jesus. We are no different than the Ten Lepers, we too are in search of a miracle. What miracle are you in search of? Are you in search of a physical healing, emotional healing, spiritual healing or are you in need of healing in your relationships? At the end of our search for a miracle, we find Jesus who is our miracle. Finding Jesus in our lives is the greatest miracle any of us can receive. Each time we witness the consecration at Mass, we are participating in a miracle. The bread and the wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is a miracle which is always visible to us, but how often do we take note of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist? Recently in a Pew study there was confusion over the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The way the question was asked led to misunderstanding by Catholics who were polled. Previous studies found the 74% as opposed to 36% in the Pew study believe that the bread and the wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and not simply just a symbol. A new poll by CARA will be conducted later this fall with clearer questions to get a more accurate result. I am relieved to know the poll was flawed because it says Catholics are open to the miracles of Jesus Christ, because the majority truly believe in the miracle that takes place each time we come together to celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist.

We have confidence in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, then we have confidence that miracles occur? We must have faith and in our hope for a miracle we must cry out as the Ten Lepers did, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” (Luke 17:11-19) The Ten Lepers were healed and in their search for a miracle they found Jesus Christ, the greatest of all miracles. Even though they found Jesus Christ their miracle, only the Samaritan came back to give Jesus thanks for being healed. . “And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God in a loud voice.” The search for a miracle does not end until we give thanks. Even if the miracle has not yet occurred, we should give thanks to the Lord for the miracle he is working in our lives. And even after we have given thanks, we need to return back to Jesus time and time again to give thanks? How do we give thanks to the Lord? Through our participation in the Eucharist, the Greek translation for Eucharist, is thanksgiving.

St. Bernadette who experienced the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes gave thanks for the miracles, even when no one else believed her. We must be as confident in the miracle that the Lord is working in our lives as St. Bernadette was confident when the Lady told her to dig for a spring where there was only dirt and mud. As the people laughed at her as she wiped the mud on her face, and then the spring flowed out of the ground and the first visible miracle of Lourdes occurred.

In the same way Naaman the Aramaean general who had leprosy followed the instruction of the Prophet Elisha and went and plunged himself in the Jordan. “Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.” (Two Kings 5:14-17) He too was in search of a miracle and his search led him to Elisha and the waters of the Jordan. Naaman gave thanks to God by proclaiming faith and belief in the one true God of Israel.

We are all searching for miracles in our lives, some searching for physical healing for themselves or a loved one, others searching for a spiritual miracle, to have their faith in Jesus Christ confirmed. Whatever miracle we are in search of, all roads lead to Jesus Christ. So, let us give thanks for the miracle of Jesus’ presence in this Eucharist and every Eucharist which allows all the other miracles to occur.

Yours in Christ

Fr. Anthony