(Optional) Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
(Genesis 4b-9.15-17; Mark 7:14-23)
Genesis says much of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that is situated in the middle of the garden but little about the tree of life. The fruit of the tree of knowledge will become the downfall of Adam and Eve. Genesis does not say if the two ever eat of the tree of life; however, after their sin, it emphasizes that God banishes them from the garden so that they would not eat the fruit of the blessed tree.
The prophet Ezekiel speaks of trees growing along the side of the river flowing from Temple as life-giving. They bear fruit and sprout leaves that are medicinal. The Book of Revelation echoes Ezekiel in mentioning the “tree of life” growing on either side of the river flowing from the New Jerusalem. Its fruit is abundant and its leaves serve as medicine. For centuries this tree has been identified as the cross of Christ, the instrument of untold spiritual and physical blessings.
Today the Church remembers our Lady of Lourdes. The site of her appearances one hundred and fifty years ago has attracted sick and infirm people throughout the world. They come begging Mary’s intercession on their behalf. Many of these seekers have received their desired cures. We cannot prove the efficacy of Christ’s cross to heal the sick, but we believe it. For this reason churches around the world invite the sick today to receive the Sacrament of Anointing. Beyond that, we trust in the same cross as the conveyer of salvation to all Christ’s followers.