PILGRIMAGE DAY 2: Looking to Mary for inspiration...

Hi everyone - so here we are - day two of our pilgrimage.   The one thing I've forgotten from the last two pilgrimages is how much walking there is!  Yesterday between a "stroll" to the Pantheon and back was about 3 hours - followed by another 3 hours of walking through the Vatican Museums last night.  

Today we headed this morning to "Ancient Rome" - the Collosium, the Roman forum.  We tried to do that earlier in the day before th 90 degree heat got too much for everyone. 

 After that, we returned near our hotel so that pilgrims could purchase gifts to be blessed by Pope Francis tomorrow during his Weekly Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square (always an amazing experinece).

Then this late afternoon it was on the road again for Daily Mass and more touring.   We "popped" in St Peters in Chains ( Church where the actual chains that held St Peter imprisoned and that he was freed from by an angel in Acts 12 are kept).   In that church is another Michaelangelo "Moses" 

Thanks for checking in, for your messages and feedback.  Sorry the internets not great so I can't get back to everyone or post more pics.  Will try to do so when I get home.


Here's my homily for SATURDAY JULY 19.   The readings  can be found at: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/071914.cfm  

Today's Daily Mass was at the Basilica of Mary Major (thanks to one of the pilgrims for this beautiful pic from today's Mass) 

Homily:

Coming to this Church of the Madonna - the Church of Our Lady, and hearing this Gospel we're reminded of one of the most profound differences between the Pharisees - the religious leaders/experts of the day and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the Gospel, the Pharisees have figured God out - or at least they think they have- because of yesterdays Gospel where they are angered by Jesus for allowing a curing on the sabbath, which they believed was out of the question (while they made exceptions for taking care of animals - their livestock...but I digress) Jesus points out their hypocrisy, points out their lack of openness of heart in allowing the cures to occur. And then we read how they reacted to that in today’s Gospel: they "went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death."

For us as Christians when we read that, and think of that - we are horrified by that. 

Yet, in all honesty, I know in my own life when things don't go within my scripted understanding of how things are supposed to go, I might be more like the Pharisees then I care to admit. Where I get angry that God isn’t following my will or my understanding of His will...Where thoughts or even actions of rebellion against God are born in my own heart.

Coming to this magnificent basilica - we're reminded of the one who’s our model as the complete opposite to that attitude. We’re reminded that when God invites Mary to consider something amazingly different then she could have ever imagined: that she would become the Mother of God through the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her, she simply and humbly opens herself to the Lord's will and invitation.

On this second day of Pilgrimage, we’re being invited to ask ourselves How is God knocking on our hearts, intersecting in our lives, looking for us to be open to Him moving us and changing us. That our initial reactions to these invitations might be met with resistance, that we might be upset that our lives may be changing-- is understandable. But we’re reminded of these two contrasts - the Pharisees in the Gospel and our Blessed Mother - to see how eventually our reactions will develop into two extemely different attitudes, reactions. One where we call for Jesus’ death - and one where we bring Jesus to birth once again. May we ask the Lord to bless us with His Holy Spirit to always remain open to his invitations, respond courageously, and have perseverance in moments of temptation and weakness - knowing that our Blessed Mother, Mary, Our Lady of the Snows, is always interceding for us to find the joy she experienced in God our Savior.

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