Homilies

Votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Easter Sunday Homily

Holy Thursday Sermon

Homily on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church

Ash Wednesday Sermon

Dominica in Quinquagesima Sermon

Homily on the Patronal Feast of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

In Epiphania Domini

Sermon for the Epiphany of Our Lord

Sermon for Christmas Day

Sermon for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Advent

Homily on the Patronal Feast at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sermon for the Votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturday in Advent 2023, Rorate Caeli Mass

Sermon on the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of St. Mary of the Snow

Homily on the 15th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Shrine Church

Sermon for the Votive Mass of Our Lady Help of Christians

Homily on the Third Sunday of Easter 2023

Dominica Resurrectionis Domini Nostri Iesu Christi (Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ)

Sermon on Holy Thursday

Homily on Passion [Palm] Sunday

Homily list

Homily on the Third Sunday of Easter 2023

Shrine of Our Lady of Pontmain

Third Sunday of Easter

Pontmain, France

23 April 2023

Acts 2, 4. 22-33

Ps 16, 1-2. 5. 7-11

1 Pt 1, 17-21

Lk 24, 13-35

Homily

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

With great joy, I celebrate the Pontifical Mass in the holy place of the apparitions of Mary Immaculate, Virgin Mother of God, on January 17, 1871, to encourage the faithful to pray and to trust in Divine Providence, in the time of the terrible suffering caused by the war waged against the people of France by the Prussians. For some three hours, Our Lady appeared to children, while a good number of the faithful gathered around the children to offer various prayers, especially the Holy Rosary, invoking her intercession. As the Mother of Divine Grace, Our Lady responded to their prayers with the clear message: “Pray my children. God will answer before long. My Son lets Himself be moved.”[1] From that time, the faithful have come on pilgrimage here, they have left the ordinary circumstances of their daily lives, to meet Our Lady at the extraordinary place of her apparitions, and to hear her exhortation once again to pray, in the face of so many difficulties in the world, in the Church, and in their personal lives, and to trust in God’s promise of salvation. The Easter Season which we celebrate is rich with the strong grace of belief in the gift of eternal life, the definitive victory over sin and death, which God the Son Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has won for us by His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension.

I come personally to thank Our Lady for her intercession on my behalf when I was at the doors of death in August of 2021, just days before my scheduled pilgrimage to Pontmain to celebrate the Birthday of Our Lady on September 8th. When I was reanimated, after nine days on a ventilator, I sensed immediately that it was Our Lady who had been holding me in her arms throughout the trial of my illness and who had interceded for my cure. At the same time, she was with me to encourage me to trust in her Son living with us in the Church through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit from His glorious-pierced Heart into our hearts. Her Immaculate Heart, which belonged completely to Our Lord from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, gives constant testimony to the trust of her assurance to the children of Pontmain: “My Son lets Himself be moved.”[2] 

When the disciples, who met our Risen Lord on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, finally recognized Him, they immediately said to each other:

"Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"[3]

The moment of recognition came as Our Lord renewed for them the Eucharistic Sacrifice, making present the outpouring of His life for them on Calvary by transforming bread and wine into His true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, and offering Himself to them as the Heavenly Food of their earthly pilgrimage. At the same moment, He disappeared from their midst, not abandoning them but remaining with them always in the Church, above all, in the Holy Eucharist.

The encounter on the road to Emmaus was directed to the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Christ, the only-begotten Son of God the Father, opened the minds of the disciples to understand the Holy Scriptures, so that they might recognize the fulfillment of all God’s promises in the gift of His Body and Blood to them, in the glorious and abiding fruit of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. The experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is our experience at every Holy Mass. First, Our Lord instructs us in divine love, the immeasurable and ceaseless love of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – for us, through the proclamation of the Holy Scriptures, and then He gives us the supreme gift of divine love, communion in His glorious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, communion with God the Father in Him, the only-begotten Son Incarnate for our eternal salvation.

What do the disciples mean when they say that their hearts burned within them, while Our Lord instructed them through His holy Word and fed them with His own Flesh? The fire, the warmth, and the light, within their hearts was the Holy Spirit purifying and strengthening their hearts for an ever-deeper knowledge and love of Our Lord. The Holy Spirit Whom Our Lord first poured out upon the disciples at His Resurrection inspired faith in them, inspired them to recognize the truth of the Resurrection, the truth that the Risen Christ was in their very midst. It is the outpouring, the gift, of the Holy Spirit, to which Saint Peter refers in his discourse at Pentecost. It is the gift, first received at the Resurrection, and then increased and strengthened on Pentecost, so that the disciples might give faithful witness to Christ alive within them. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Saint Peter and the other Apostles gave courageous testimony to Christ, seated at the right of the Father in glory and, at the same, alive and at work in His Church through the outpouring of the same Holy Spirit.

When the people witnessed the transformation of the Apostles through the Pentecost outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they were in great wonderment. Saint Peter immediately explained to them the reality before their eyes:

God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured him forth, as you see and hear.[4]

The truth which the people witnessed is the truth which we witness daily in the Church, in our lives as disciples of Our Lord. Jesus Christ, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, never ceases to thirst for our love. He never ceases to pour forth from His glorious-pierced Heart the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit into our souls. It is the Holy Spirit Who inspires in us faithful and courageous witness to our faith in the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit dwelling within our souls makes our hearts on fire with the pure and selfless love of Our Lord, as He made the hearts of the disciples on the way to Emmaus burn with divine love. Through the Holy Spirit dwelling within our hearts, our hearts burn with desire to be one with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Christ bids us to surrender our hearts to Him and to find in His glorious-pierced Heart the purification of our sins and the strength to love as He loves, purely and selflessly. In the only safe harbor for our hearts, which is His Sacred Heart, Christ safeguards and nourishes within us the gift of His own Spirit, purifying us of our sins and inspiring in us every good and holy thought, word, and deed. Through the Holy Spirit, dwelling within our hearts, Christ makes our hearts like His own, so that from our hearts flow “[r]ivers of living water” for all our brothers and sisters, without boundary and without cease.[5]

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, directs us now, in the face of our many needs and the needs of the world and the Church, to her Divine Son with the maternal counsel, which she gave to the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.”[6]  Drawing our hearts to her Immaculate Heart, she teaches us, with the purest maternal love, to place our hearts completely into the Heart of Jesus, as He offers His life in pure and selfless love of God and of all men. She gives us the very same maternal counsel in the words which appeared in the sky during her apparition at Pontmain: “Pray my children. God will answer before long. My Son lets Himself be moved.” [7]

The glorious-pierced Heart of Jesus stands ready now to receive our hearts, purifying and strengthening them with His own Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. With the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us give our hearts to Him, now and always. May our hearts burn, today and always, with the warmth and the light of the Holy Spirit, so that the Word of Christ in the Holy Scriptures and the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist may produce in us every good fruit of divine love, for our salvation and the salvation of the world.

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Pontmain, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, True Spouse of the Virgin Mary and the Virginal Father of Jesus, pray for us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

[1] “Mais priez mes enfants. Dieu Vous exaucera en peu de temps. Mons Fils Se laisse toucher.”

[2] “Mons Fils Se laisse toucher.”

[3] Lk 24, 32.

[4] Acts 2, 32-33.

[5] Jn 7, 38.

[6] Jn 2, 5.

[7] “Mais priez mes enfants. Dieu Vous exaucera en peu de temps. Mons Fils Se laisse toucher.”