Lourdes Homily

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B – Grotto of Our Lady, Lourdes, 23rd of June 2024

On these mid-summer days our attention is drawn to heavenly matters in the readings today through extraordinary events of nature, in the book of Job, the psalm and the Gospel.


The book of Job is one of the most interesting books in the bible and seems to speak deeply to believer and unbeliever alike, people searching, seeking, looking for meaning.  Job is the refuge for many to put shape and frame words to interrogate the great questions of life; the mystery of suffering and trying to make sense of God’s intervention and otherwise in the natural world.

God’s Revelation through Nature

In today’s reading it reports a theophany, a self revelation of God from within a storm wind.  God leads Job into a deeper appreciation of certain aspects of God’s own self.  It’s interesting how often in the Bible the glory of God is reflected in the beauty of the creation around us.  We can appreciate that in a heavenly location such as Lourdes here at the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Calming of the Storm

The Gospel continues the instance of nature being an aid to a deeper understanding of God where Jesus reveals himself through the calming of the storm.

The Gospel today is also great and timely source of courage and inspiration.  One could say very much needed.  Many in the Church and the world at present could be tempted to be despondent and downhearted.  All we need to do is look at the news and be updated on the various wars and atrocities that continue daily.

However, the Gospel speaks deeply to us today to give us a lift.  The disciples were terrified in the middle of a storm.  They felt certain the boat would sink!  Jesus, however, questions their trust, their faith, their reliance on the providence of God.  I am reminded of the Bernini monument at the bottom of the Spanish steps in Rome, the boat, the barque of Peter perpetually sinking, yet still afloat.


Fear Not

“Why are you frightened?  How is it you have no faith?” Jesus asks the disciples.  Today, we take courage and inspiration from their faith in letting go and relying on Jesus and the effect and result of doing that in their lives.

Gathering in Procession

The theme here in Lourdes for 2024 is a snippet of the few words spoken by Our Lady to St. Bernadette.  Those words being “Let them come, in procession”.  As we gather in Procession from the Killaloe diocese on our Summer pilgrimage this year, we bring our joys and appreciation of life along with fears, doubts, intercessions and challenges with us to this Holy Place, to Our Lady at this Holy Shrine here at the grotto and to Her blessed Son Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Theme of Procession

What a rich theme put before us inviting us to come in procession.

Procession, an important ritual in our lives secular and religious.

From processions of :

  • brass bands,
  • commemorative walks,
  • wreath laying ceremonies and
  • going in procession to sporting events.

Our two seminarians with us today reminded me yesterday having just returned from Valladolid in Spain that processions are a major part of the culture there, secular and religious.

Procession, mór-shiúil as gaeilge,  a big walk,  a camino,  a tóchar. Euchartistic processions, pilgim processions, processions of the Holy Eucharist and candlelight rosary prayer here in Lourdes, processions to the grotto, procession of the sick, processions to the baths of healing water, processions of the Eucharistic gifts to be transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.

Processions, ways, caminos, tóchars; important in themselves in savouring what happens en route, but ultimately all leading to a destination, a goal, something truly worthwhile, not only in what is learnt on the way but the treasure that is revealed at the end.

Echoing the images and words of Job, the psalmist and Jesus in St. Mark’s Gospel, we pray that we might have a profound experience of the presence of the Lord on that processional way of life, dispelling our fears, increasing our faith and trust in the goodness of the creator and sustainer of our lives.

Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette, pray for us as we return home on Wednesday next to open the next chapter of our pilgrim procession of life!