HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY
THEME: The Power of Prayer
BY: Deacon Bill Frere
HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OCTOBER 7 2022
Gospel – Luke 11:15-26
I’m holding a Rosary – I must admit I don’t pray it as often as I should. In some ways, I think it goes back to when I was a child and the times when we prayed it altogether as a family. We would be in the car driving somewhere and we ran into the middle of a snowstorm. It was only then that my mom would whip out the rosary and have us all pray together. Or when we were at home during a terrible thunderstorm, lightning, noise, rattling of the windows and shaking of the house, and then the lights go out. And then we would gather together and pray the rosary. Good times, right?! Maybe that’s why I tend to avoid it a bit; it’s been a reminder of dark times, of storms and threatening weather!
Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was instituted in 1571 By Pope Pius V to celebrate Mary’s intervention in a combined European naval victory over the Turks. The Pope had asked all of Europe to pray the Rosary to ensure a victory. This Battle of Lepanto saved all of Europe from invasion.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is casting out a demon and then engaging in a contentious dialogue with the Pharisees! In another Gospel passage, the disciples tried and failed to cast out a demon and they asked Jesus – why not! Jesus’ answer? It takes prayer!
Isn’t that what we all do – when a storm or one of life’s difficulties smacks us in the face, don’t we all tend to hunker down, gather together in prayer and ask for safe passage through the storm. Whenever we are battered by the storms of life, don’t we all seek shelter, don’t we all shelter in place, don’t we all call out to Jesus in prayer, ask for His help, His protection from the storm. Let’s face it, we all have our demons – destructive relationships, doubt, anger, sloth, pride, over-attachment to things, selfishness, you name it. We all need to cast these evils out of our lives and ourselves. And Jesus shows us the way – through faith and through prayer!
Is that really any different from my Mom, pulling out the rosary when the storm hits, when the lightning crackles! All she wanted was for us to join together, be close to God, to pray to Him, to ask for help in the midst of fear. My goodness, I think I just admitted my mom was right!!
The Rosary helps us to meditate on our own salvation and on the mysteries that lead to it. And it reminds us of Mary’s obedient role in that event. It is also a strong reminder of the power of prayer. Today especially at a time when our needs are many and our fears are deep, the Rosary provides us the opportunity to place those cares before Mary and to ask her to intercede for us.