Fifth Sunday of Easter                                                                                                                                                    14 May 2017

Rejoice in Our Lady of Fatima!

In our current sessions of Pivotal Players we are finding ourselves standing in awe of the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo.  Entering St. Peter’s Basilica you are experiencing one of the wonders he produced.  Your senses burst awake as the interior of the Church is revealed.  So much lifts the heart and mind, indeed the soul, to Almighty God.  Enter once or 50 times and the experience is the same!

In this great shrine you soon notice there is always a crowd, often a large one, at the first chapel on your right.  Small wonder, for that is where Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Pieta is found.  It is an articulate proclamation of faith, wrought from a single block of marble.  The lifeless body of the Lord is held tenderly in the arms of his mother.  They form though one unity.  The detail of the presentation conveys quickly the tragic truth:  he has just been removed from the cross.

But the work tells so much more.  Designed as an altar piece, the left hand of the Virgin gently offers the body of her son to all who gaze.  Her right hand lovingly and gently supports it, but even she does not touch:  a veil separates her hand from his flesh.  An inspired representation designed for an altar where the true Body and Blood of the Savior is offered again, then given through God’s mercy to the faithful who accept his invitation to eat and drink.

I love the Pieta.  I love Mary, our Mother.  I hope I share that in common with you.  We need Mary, once tried so deeply, who remained sinless.  One who loved God, and was given the grace to be the mother of his Son!  Assumed body and soul into heaven, one who has gone where we dearly hope to follow!  May God give all of us a greater love for his mother, the mother of Jesus, the mother of the Church!

Today (yesterday) the Church observes the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Mary to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia, the little shepherds at Fatima.  The Angel of Peace preceded her.  But it was the lady who told them to pray the rosary every day to achieve peace.

Much has been said through the years about the three secrets of Fatima.  It was on July 13, 1917 that these were entrusted to the children.  The first secret involved a vision of hell in which the pain and isolation of the damned was witnessed in frightening detail.  The second warned of another great war to follow during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI.  This occurred with WW II.

At the direction of the local Bishop, Lucia wrote the third secret down in 1944.  It spoke of a great persecution of believers that would follow.  Many have seen that fulfilled in the persecution of Christians in many parts of the world through the 1900’s, and that continues today.  It also spoke of a Pope who would carry the pains and cares of his persecuted flock and who would himself be killed when shot by bullets and arrows.  Pope John Paul II applied this to the attempt to kill him in St. Peter’s Square in 1981.  He credited his being spared to the direct intervention of Mary, and had an icon of her erected above the piazza.

It was a great source of grace for my sister and me to be at Fatima two weeks ago for Mass.  It is a place of great faith, and the spirit of God moved powerfully within me as a pilgrim who went there.

Mary’s message at Fatima was one of peace.  She instructed the children to pray the rosary for peace, to pray in reparation to God for the sins of many, and to reverence the Holy Father.  That remains the message of Fatima.  Pray for peace.  Pray in reparation to God for sin.  Pray for the Holy Father.

Today in the Gospel Jesus responds to Thomas and instructs him “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”  What did Jesus preach?  He preached repentance from sin.  He taught his disciples to pray.  He taught them to follow in his path as servant and friend.  Mary’s message at Fatima is so similar. 

So that is my message to you today:  Repent of your own sin.  Again!  Every one of us! Yes, repent!  Pray fervently and regularly to God in reparation for the sins of all.  Pray for our Holy Father.  And pray for peace.  Pray especially the rosary, for peace!  We desperately need the cessation of violence and the advent of peace in our world.  A key is in our hands, believers in Jesus who reverence his mother.  A challenge for each one today: yes for everyone here.  Pray the rosary each day in this month of May.  Pray it for peace.  Mary has asked it.  Today I do too.  Do your very best to follow through!  It is bound to please the Lord greatly if you do.

Msgr. John R. Murphy,

Visitation Rectory, Norfolk, NY




Past Homilies

September 8th 2013

September 15, 2013

September 22, 2013

September 29, 2013

October 6, 2013

October 13 2013

October 20, 2013

October 27, 2013

November 3, 2013

November 10, 2013

November 24, 2013

December 1, 2013

December 8, 2013

December 15, 2013

December 22, 2013

Christmas 2013

December 29, 2013

January 1, 2014

January 5, 2014

January 12, 2014

January 19, 2014

February 2, 2014

February 9, 2014

February 16, 2014

February 23, 2014

March 2, 2014

March 9, 2014

March 15, 2014

April 6, 2014

April 17, 2014 

April 27, 2014 

May 11, 2014

May 25, 2014

June 1, 2014

June 15, 2014

June 29, 2014

July 6, 2014

July 13 2014

July 20, 2014

October 5, 2014

October 12, 2014

October 19, 2014

November 2, 2014

November 16, 2014

November 23, 2014

November 30, 2014

December 25, 2014

December 28, 2014

January 4, 2015

January 11, 2015

February 8, 2015

February 15, 2015

February 22, 2015

March 1, 2015

March 15, 2015

March 22, 2015

March 29, 2015

April 3, 2015

April 5, 2015

April 19, 2015

May 3, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 24, 2015

May 31, 2015

June 7, 2015

June 14, 2015

June 21, 2015

July 19, 2015

July 26, 2015

August 2, 2015

October 18, 2015

October 25, 2015

November 1, 2015

November 22, 2015

November 24, 2015

November 29, 2015

December 6, 2015

December 20, 2015

December 25, 2015

January 3, 2016

January 17, 2016

January 24, 2016

February 14, 2016

March 20, 2016

March 24, 2016

March 27, 2016

April 3, 2016


April 24, 2016

May 1, 2016

June 5, 2016

June 12, 2016

June 26, 2016

July 3, 2016

July 10, 2016

July 31, 2016

August 14, 2016

August 28, 2016

September 4, 2016

September 11, 2016

September 25, 2016

October 9, 2016

October 30, 2016

November 6, 2016

November 13, 2016

November 27, 2016

December 4, 2016

December 25, 2016

January 8, 2017

February 26, 2017

March 1, 2017

March 5, 2017

March 12, 2017

March 26, 2017

April 2, 2017

April 13, 2017

April 14, 2017

May 14, 2017