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The Visitation, the Holy Innocents and the Holy Eucharist

PHILADELPHIA, May 31 — During an evening Holy Hour on the Feast of the Visitation at Holy Innocents Parish in Philadelphia, Father Roger Landry, chaplain to the Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, preached a bilingual homily linking the mystery of the Visitation to the Holy Innocents and both to the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.

In Spanish, he described how the first Corpus Christi procession in history took place with Mary as the monstrance, as soon after she conceived within her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit the Word made flesh, she brought him within her with haste on a pilgrimage to Ein Kerem, the Judean hill country where her elderly cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant with St. John the Baptist.

Father Landry underlined that the mystery of the Visitation is at the heart of every Eucharistic procession and of the National Eucharistic pilgrimage as the Church seeks to bring the same Jesus to many Elizabeths, Johns and Zechariahs, so that just as Jesus made John leap for joy within Elizabeth's womb and prepare him for his sacred mission Jesus may make others today leap for joy by the blessing of his presence with them.

Landry underlined how Mary helps us to live the four pillars that the U.S. Bishops have enunciated for the parish phase of the National Eucharistic Revival.

She shows us how better to pray the Mass, entering into Jesus' sacrifice like she was present on Calvary, and receiving him with love, as she did at the Annunciation and in the Masses celebrated by the first apostles.

She shows us how prayerfully to adore the Lord, as she did within her leading to her Magnificat in the Visitation, as she did as she held him in her arms and fed him, as she did throughout his life, even on Golgotha.

She shows us how to pass on with integrity the truths of the faith, specifically with regard to Jesus, as she did with the members of the early Church during the preparation for Pentecost and beyond.

And she also shows us how to live the pillar of mission, bringing Jesus to others and seeking to love them as he has loved us first, something that Mary did in caring for St. Elizabeth in her pregnancy.

In English, Father Landry preached about the connection between what happened to the Holy Innocents, slaughtered by Herod's henchmen who were trying to assassinate Jesus, and the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.

He first linked what happened to the Holy Innocents to the mystery of the Visitation, describing how in the Church of the Visitation in Ein Kerem, there is a large stone and a painting describing how the henchmen of Herod had come to Ein Kerem, which is not very far from Bethlehem, seeking to kill the two year old boys there, and that St. Elizabeth had hidden the infant John the Baptist behind that rock.

Father Landry described how the Holy Innocents show us, first, how the real point of human life is to live for and with Jesus, to die for and with Jesus, so as to live for and with Jesus eternally.

They also show us the primacy of grace, that God can unite us to the sacrifice of his Son even before we are capable of making moral acts.

He likewise described how sometimes people fear the Holy Eucharist in a way similar to how Herod feared the baby Jesus: that if we acknowledge Christ as the King, we can feel threatened and fear that he will take our life away, but rather serving him is the path to have life to the full.

To listen to Father Landry's homily, the first seven minutes of which are in Spanish, please click here.


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