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.
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.
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.