Our Lady of the Rosary
A teacher of the Law came and began putting Jesus to the test. And he said, "Master, what shall I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus replied, "What is written in the Scripture? How do you understand it?" The man answered, "It is written: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbour as yourself." Jesus replied, "What a good answer! Do this and you shall live." The man wanted to keep up appearances, so he replied, "Who is my neighbour?"
Jesus then said, "There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
"It happened that a priest was going along that road and saw the man, but passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite saw the man and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, too, was going that way, and when he came upon the man, he was moved with compassion. He went over to him and treated his wounds with oil and wine and wrapped them with bandages. Then he put him on his own mount and brought him to an inn where he took care of him.
"The next day he had to set off, but he gave two silver coins to the innkeeper and told him: 'Take care of him and whatever you spend on him, I will repay when I come back.'"
Jesus then asked, "Which of these three, do you think, made himself neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The teacher of the Law answered, "The one who had mercy on him." And Jesus said, "Go then and do the same."
Our Lady of the Rosary
I think when we are caught up in the trials of life it is easy to forget that nothing is impossible to God. Today’s Gospel is the Gospel of what is not possible in human terms.
A young woman becomes pregnant with no human father and an old woman becomes pregnant long after the time that it is possible. Both impossible events brought new life, new life that changed the world for all of humanity for ever.
Elizabeth delivered John the Baptist who had a revolutionary role in life. He was probably seen as a crazy man when he announced the imminent arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. When the Messiah arrived, he was not what the Jewish people had come to expect. He was not part of their human idea of the Messiah. The Messiah, the Son of God was murdered because he didn’t fit in to our human expectations. He was too radical, too different from what we thought was right for us.
When you look at it with hindsight it seems unbelievable that Jesus was crucified, especially given the exceptional circumstances of how he arrived in the world. This was a special man. This was a different man. I suppose we could understand how people may not have believed that Mary was a virgin, but there would have been no doubt as to Elizabeth being past childbearing age. Then perhaps the time from the birth of both Jesus and John the Baptist, until their public ministry, was so long that people didn’t know the circumstances.
However, what about the miracles that Jesus performed, everyone didn’t get to see them, so there was probably doubt about them too. People perhaps thought that these were made up events by his followers. However, this is not really possible when the evidence of healing was before their very eyes and the miracles performed in front of people who refused to accept Jesus. There were those who point blank refused to believe and there were those who struggled to believe.
Really it doesn’t matter what Jesus does, there are always doubts and we can all have these doubts ourselves. At times we can naturally and indeed healthy question our faith. Our faith is only possible by the Grace given to us by God because in ways there is very little that we, in human terms, could not try to undermine about the Gospel and the life of Christ. So much of it is impossible in human terms. From the moment of Jesus conception, it seems so much has been impossible.
However rather than not believing the impossible we are called to be thankful that our God is the God of the impossible. So many things in our lives are impossible and the only way we can sustain ourselves and live and grow and hope is by returning to God. No matter what difficult situation we are dealing with, should that be drugs, pornography, gambling, alcohol, family break ups, illness only God can lead us through the impossible. He can lead us through it.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Our Lady knows better than anyone else that God is the God of the impossible. The Rosary is the prayer that we should use to lead us to God with our impossible situations. A friend of mine mentioned to me yesterday about the last conversation he had with a mentor of his who was in the final weeks of his life. His mentor said to him, that he prayed the Rosary every day and that is what made the difference to his life.
I have no doubt that if we start today to pray the Rosary and offer each decade up for the impossible situations in our lives and in the world that on this Feast Day next year our lives will have changed beyond anything we could imagine today. The impossible will have happened.
However, we do need to be careful because when God sorts the impossible, just like the arrival of Jesus, it may not be what we are expecting, as a matter of fact its guaranteed not to be what we are expecting, but we can be sure that a loving Father is only going to sort the impossible for us in a way that is good for all our souls.
Lord strengthen my faith in all that’s impossible, help me to pray a daily Rosary. Amen