3rd Sunday of Lent
March 19, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Ex 17:3-7 / Psalm 95 / Rom 5:1-2, 5-8 / Jn 4:5-42
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The wonderful things that have been happening here in Holy Name of Mary Parish since Friday are all manifestations of the Blessed Mother’s love for us. For instance, although the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was scheduled to leave yesterday at 5 pm, by some miraculous events she has remained here overnight in our sanctuary. This is now the second Mass we are celebrating in the presence of the miraculous pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
In December 1965 in South Vietnam, there was a 2 year old boy afflicted with an advanced stage of malaria. Because there was no medication available to treat the malaria, the doctors told the parents to take the child home to die in peace. Since there were no other options, the parents did just that.
The parents had embraced the Catholic faith 5 years before this event, so when they got home and heard that the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was present at the Church in town, they decided to go there. They knelt in front of the statue for several hours and prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked her to intercede for their baby, telling her that she was their last hope. When they went home, they noticed that the child was better than the doctors had predicted. Over the next few days he continued to improve. After several days, they took him back to the hospital to be examined by the doctors. To their surprise, the doctors discovered that even without the medication that was needed to treat the malaria, the baby was free of the disease.
That baby boy is now a 53-year-old businessman who lives in the Roanoke Valley area and is about to open his new Asian restaurant in Vinton. His name is Hoy Nguyen, called “Howie” by his friends. Yesterday, he was here with his whole family, including his father. His father is the one who prayed in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima 52 years ago in Vietnam. This statue has been travelling around the world since 1947 and this statue here in our Church is the exact same statue that was in Vietnam 52 years ago.
On their way to visit the statue yesterday afternoon, “Howie” said his family saw a rainbow stretching across the top of our church building. Because of this, he said that he will not be surprised to hear about miracles that occur due to Our Lady’s visit here.
Howie Nguyen and his family always go to Church as often as they can, to attend Mass and other liturgical celebrations, because Mary has led them to her Son, Jesus.
The name of the street which runs next to our Church is “Mary’s Way”. And what is Mary’s Way? It is the way to Jesus, our Savior and Lord. The Blessed Mother is always pointing us to her Son. As she told the servants at the wedding at Cana and as she tells us, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.”
Saint John Paul II, to give thanks to the Blessed Mother for surviving the assassination attempt that occurred on May 13, 1981 , the feast day of our Lady of Fatima, once said, “With rosary in my hand, Mary’s name on my lips and a song of mercy in my heart, I give thanks to our Lady. The apparitions at Fatima, testified by extraordinary signs, were a point of reference for our century. May our heavenly Mother, who came to awaken our consciousness, inflame our souls with love for God and charity toward our neighbor. Yes, Mary came to help us.”
The Blessed Mother will always lead us to her son Jesus, who through His Sacraments – as told in today’s Gospel – will give us a drink that will become a spring of living water welling up to eternal life.