Homily — World Day of the Sick

Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

February 11, 2023

Our Blessed Mother said, “Tell them I love them.”

She also says, “Tell them there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them.” For all of you. She loves you all very, very much. Like a loving mother, gazing upon all of you who come because of illness, or the stress in your life — or also those who are here who do so much to help those who are ill, like our Knights and Ladies of Malta.

But Our Blessed Mother, she — her heart is filled with love for you. I have a special love in my heart for Our Lady of Lourdes because, in the few times that I’ve been there, you can really feel her love so present there.

For all those who have been there, it’s a beautiful, beautiful experience. Last time I went there, a few years ago, when I went in the gate of the, where the — and the procession was beginning, I think it was the afternoon procession was beginning, I just felt this, I actually began to weep.

Because immediately what came into my heart, my mind was the memory of when I used to go home to Ireland when my mother was alive, and she would be waiting there at the gate for me. And it was always such a joy to see her, and a joy to see how happy she was that I was home.

When I went to Lourdes last time, that’s exactly the same feeling I got. That Our Blessed Mother was — I could almost feel her happiness that I was there, and I could feel her love for me, welcoming me home.

And today we have this beautiful Gospel of the story of the miracle at Cana. The first miracle that Jesus performed. And this, this miracle tells us a lot about Our Blessed Mother and also a lot about the beautiful relationship between Mary and Jesus.

Our Blessed Mother was there — she had been invited. Maybe she knew the family. And Jesus also was invited. His apostles were there also, I don’t know if the apostles drank all the wine or what happened, or what’s wrong. But there wasn’t — they ran out of wine.

And in those days they had no Heineken or Dos Equis or Corona or Budweiser. They had nothing else, only the wine. And Mary was watching all this that the wine was running out and she didn’t want the couple to be embarrassed, didn’t want anything humiliating to happen to them. Didn’t want people to leave unhappy.

And so, she went, of course, and spoke to Jesus. But she was being a very, very good there too — see some way, anyway in which she could help.

I think this is the way Our Blessed Mother is always among us, always seeing some way that she can help. And, of course, we know that she talked to Jesus. And Jesus, like a lot of sons, didn’t, didn’t respond, didn’t obey right away — didn’t do something right away.

But she knew he would do something to help her. She had no doubt about it, even though he said, “Woman, what does this concern of yours — how does that concern me? My hour has not yet come.”

But she knew that Jesus would help. She said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

So Jesus always, I think, cause his great love for his mother, won’t refuse her anything. He honors his mother so much and he will always — he will always help when she asks him to help.

So if you need some help in your life, I find that it’s great — I talk to Our Blessed Mother first. And then she usually, she’ll do something. Something will be done.

What she does, she does want most of all — she does want most of all that we have that love for Jesus and do his will. She said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” I think that’s what she tells us that also — do whatever Jesus tells you.Because when you start living in the will of Jesus, and doing what he asks you to do — then you enter into this kind of a space where, well you will be blessed. And that space, that’s where healing happens. That’s where new life happens. That’s where consolation occurs. That’s where new hope emerges, living in that relationship where you are putting yourself completely under the authority of Jesus.

What Our Blessed Mother wants most of all, of course — and she will help us in this, if you ask her to help you to love Jesus, because nobody loves him like she does. Ask her to help you to do his will, to follow Jesus, to be his disciple, because she is the best disciple ever of Jesus. And she will help us to do that.

But also, there’s something beautiful here in the Gospel, that Jesus wants his beautiful Blessed Mother to get the honor and the glory and the love. He loves her so much that he will do the miracle, but he wants Mary to get the praise, and the love, and the — he wants people to turn their hearts more and more towards her.

I guess when we love somebody we want to see them loved by others and being praised by others. And that’s what Jesus, even all through history — so many miracles are done at the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, so much good comes into the world at the intercession of Our Blessed Mother — because Jesus wants her to be loved. Wants people — wants you and I to love her as much as he loves her.

In this Cathedral, we have this beautiful, beautiful image of Our Blessed Mother looking with love upon all of us, but looking with love also — with great, tender love on the broken body of her beloved Son on the Cross.

Our gaze always is on him. Heartbreaking that he is suffering — that he has suffered so much. Because this is the reality that exists still in the world — that Jesus is still in the world, receiving all the suffering that should come to you and I because of our sins. Receiving all the suffering of the world into his own body, and giving back compassion and mercy, and healing and new life.

So that’s what we do today — that’s what we do in all sacraments — Jesus is there to take all the suffering on himself, especially in the Sacrament of Eucharist, of Confession, and of the Anointing of the Sick. That Jesus is here with us, willing to take our suffering onto himself and to give us back his healing, consolation, and new hope, and new life.

And this is the reality into which we are being called to now in this celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing and then moving on to the celebration of the Eucharist.

And also in this special time of the renewal of our love for Jesus in the Eucharist, the Eucharistic Renewal ­— we remember the great healing power of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Because the same reality happens in the Eucharist — Jesus takes the suffering of the sin of the world unto himself and gives back his mercy, and his new life, and his salvation.