Homily – Our Lady of Walsingham – John 19, 25-27
“The disciple made a place for her in his home.” What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘home’. A place of safety, a place to relax, a place where family and loved ones are present.
While Jesus was hanging on the cross, He gave his mother to the beloved disciple, in order to keep her safe especially from the Roman authorities. But John’s Gospel goes deeper than that, the Greek translation of the verb is to ‘receive’. The beloved disciple receives the mother of Jesus into his home. In these words, from the cross, Jesus reveals the spiritual relationship among himself, his mother, and the beloved disciple, as the family of God. If the beloved disciple shares spiritually in Jesus’ own life as the Son, then he also has Mary for his spiritual mother. As Eve became the mother of all the living, the second Eve – Mary becomes the mother of all believers.
Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Walsingham, a place where many of us have visited on pilgrimage in recent days, and over the years. We can picture the location where the Holy House was located before it was destroyed.
It was Lady Richeldis, a holy woman, a lady of faith, with a great love for Mary, asked Our Lady for a way to honour her. It was from this desire in her heart that the events of Walsingham unfolded.
While she was in prayer and in meditation, the Virgin Mary led her in Spirit to Nazareth, to show her the house of the Annunciation, asking her to build a replica in Walsingham as a perpetual memorial. It would be a place where people could come to honour her Son, remembering especially Mary’s joyful ‘yes’ to the Angel Gabriel. For the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. That house in Nazareth would become the boyhood home of the Son of God himself. A home, a place of safety, and a place of love.
May we keep a place for Jesus and Mary in our hearts daily, while pondering on Mary’s ‘yes’ at the Annunciation.
We are here now, due to our ‘yes’ living at St. Mary’s College, our house of brotherly love and fraternity, with our fellow seminarians and lecturers. But more importantly with our brother, Jesus Christ, all of us living under the protection of Our Mother, the Queen of Heaven.
Our Lady of Walsingham – Pray for us.