Father Pius Mary Noonan’s homily
Notre Dame Priory
17th Sunday after Pentecost
175 years ago today in a small and, at that time, very obscure hamlet of the French Alps named La Salette, two little children, Melanie (age 14) and Maximin (age 11) climbed the slopes driving their cattle up the mount. Exhausted, the two children lay down on the grass and fell asleep. The September sun was relaxing and the sky was cloudless. The chattering brook highlighted the mountain stillness. These were quiet moments. Mélanie woke up with a start and shook Maximin: “Get up! Let’s go look for our cows. I don’t know where they are!” Near the small brook on one of the stone benches there was a globe of fire.
A woman appeared within the light; she was sitting, her head in her hands, her elbows on her knees, in deepest grief, like a Mother chased from her home and beaten by her own children. The Lady rose slowly. She spoke to them in French: “Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.” They approached the Lady who wept all the while she spoke. Mary’s message – for it was indeed the Mother of God – to the two children at La Salette was a warning: “If my people refuse to submit,” she complained, “I will be forced to let go the arm of my Son. Those who drive the carts cannot swear without using my Son’s name… they labour all day Sunday… there are none who go to Mass… when they do not know what to do, they go to Mass just to make fun of religion…” She warned further: “If the harvest is ruined, it is only on account of yourselves… If you have wheat, you must not sow it. Anything you sow the vermin will eat… A great famine is coming…” But she promised: “If my people are converted, rocks and stones will turn into heaps of wheat, and potatoes will be self-sown in the fields…” Finally she pleaded: “Well, my children, make this known to all my people…” In those few words, all had been said. The Lady climbed the narrow path that led out of the ravine. She looked toward heaven then gazed down to the southeast. Slowly she vanished within the light.
Make this known to my people. The message of Our Lady of La Salette is essentially a complaint, the cry from the heart of a Mother concerned for her wayward children. She mentions the wrath of her Son, as something she is no longer able to avert. This tells us two important things. The first is that when the world ignores God, He is outraged and is obliged to punish. The second is that Mary intercedes with Him pleading for mercy and striving to avert the chastisement. We saw the same gesture in the Third Secret of Fatima, where the fire of the Angel’s sword dies out in contact with the Blessed Mother.
I will be forced to let go the arm of my Son. But, we might ask, why is Jesus incensed against His people? What wrong are we doing? In the context of mid-nineteenth century France, Our Lady points to the continual breaking of the Second Commandment (Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain) and the Third Commandment (Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day). Both these commandments refer to our duties to the one true God who has a right to our respect which we show by venerating His Name, and to our worship, which is principally accomplished on Sundays by going to Mass and avoiding unnecessary work. The people not only spent Sundays working but they also swore, taking the Lord’s Name in vain. Mary’s words to the children are maternal, but they are hard. Even though they reveal the mercy of a maternal heart, they do not hide the chastisement that will come. Anyone who knows anything about French history in the hundred years that followed this apparition, knows well that even graver sufferings than those announced actually came to the French people. God wants to show mercy, but when He meets with obstinacy, He is forced to chastise, and in that very chastisement is revealed His mercy, which corrects us while there is still time to repent.
If Our Lady appeared today in these parts, what sins would she weep over? What would cause her distress today? In today’s Gospel, we heard our Blessed Lord repeat the great commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind. And thy neighbour as thyself. The first commandment is therefore to love and serve the one true God. All other sins fade in comparison to the sin par excellence which is the denial of God or the refusal to give Him Honour and glory. For months now in many parts of Australia, the servants of God have been prevented from gathering together and giving Him worship. The Lord God is shoved over into a corner. The worship of God is banned as “non-essential”. His people are forced to stay in their homes and, at best, unite from afar with a Mass being relayed to them by the internet. The worship of God is not essential, so they say. The gravity of this sin can hardly be expressed in words, nor is it diminished by a so-called state of emergency. For it is precisely in times of distress that the worship of God becomes even more important. In former times, famine, pestilence and war were times which saw an increase of church-goers. This past week a group of courageous Protestant pastors published a document called the Moses Statement, in which they rightly proclaim: “The worship of God is the most important activity and privilege of human existence… The public gathered worship of God is essential to the church… Loving the Lord our God means loving and valuing His worship… Loving our neighbour involves the provision of care for their souls… In times of crisis, we must, all the more urgently, call upon the name of God in public worship… Since the Lord has commanded us and given us the right to worship, it is wrong for any government or official to obstruct gatherings for public worship, especially at a time like this.” This excellent declaration echoes that of the early Christians when they were forced to work on Sunday: Sine dominico, non possumus – we cannot live without our Sunday worship! The public worship of God is what defines us as a people. Take that from us, and we lose our reason for existence.
But there is also something that needs to be said about the second commandment which is love of neighbour, for, we are told, love for neighbour obliges us to remain hidden in our homes and to get vaccinated. A number of points need to be made here.
The first is that the commandment says to love your neighbour as yourself. There is an order in the virtue of charity, and it is a certain truth of our faith that it is not loving but foolish to accept a treatment that would be detrimental to one’s own health. One cannot serve the interests of others by putting oneself at risk. Concerning those risks, may I briefly repeat that the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration report shows that in addition to nearly 500 deaths in Australia linked to the vaccines, there are also 71 pages of ill side-effects, 2,ooo in all. No other vaccine has ever had so many deaths or harmful side-effects linked to it. Let me add to that some data from our American allies. The U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System has recorded no less than 675,593 adverse events in association with COVID vaccines to date, including more than 14,000 deaths, 18,000 permanent disabilities, and more than 58,000 events requiring hospitalisation. All this is on the public record.
The second is that there is no cogent material available that makes it clear that vaccination is actually helping the situation. All that we have to go on is a shot in the dark of our politicians who are just hoping, hoping, that if everyone is vaccinated, all will be well. Unfortunately for them, here too there is much evidence that this will not be the case, as the most vaccinated countries in the world are now experiencing new outbreaks of the virus, which is leading those who are in power over us to decide that now up to 9 injections will be required over a period of 2 years, since they lose efficacy rapidly; and just last week a prominent doctor announced that people might have to receive even more injections over a longer period. In that, this vaccine does not compare to the polio vaccine, for example, which is given once for life and is permanently and completely efficacious. They are not “vaccines” at all, nor are they protections but, at best, risk-reducers, carrying their own grave risks. One of the most fundamental principles of moral theology is: You cannot act in doubt. And the first principle of medicine is: If you can’t help, do no harm.
Thirdly, even if it were the case – which it emphatically is not according to the very data provided by its promotors – that the vaccine causes no harm and protects everyone, the question of conscience remains. If a person’s conscience does not allow them to receive the vaccine because of the use of aborted stem cells in its production or its research, that judgment of conscience cannot in any way be violated by anyone. The Vatican itself, like the Australian bishops, has reaffirmed the inviolability of conscience in this matter. Ultimately, this question too comes back to the second great commandment: If I personally refuse the vaccine, it is out of love for that baby who was murdered to create it, and with whose murder I will not in any way be connected, however remote it might be. Is that baby remote for God? My refusal is an act of love. Who in their right mind would force me to act contrary to that judgment of conscience?
One final word about fraternal charity: I have the greatest respect for those who have received the vaccine because they have been led to believe that they are showing love to their neighbour. Subjectively, that is a good thing, and no doubt meritorious, especially if you are aware of the possible side-effects. But we do not live in a subjective world. The real world is objective, it is real. God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, nature never forgives.
Only if we stop killing babies and other vulnerable people, only if we stop sinning against nature by the promotion of vice, only if we turn back to God en masse and fly to our churches and acknowledge our guilt, only then can we count on that mercy that we asked for at the beginning of today’s Mass. Thou are just, O Lord, and Thy judgment is right; deal with Thy servant according to Thy mercy.
Our Lady of La Salette, thou who are called the refuge and reconciliation of sinners, pray for us. Pray for those who stand in power over us. Enlighten their minds and convert their hearts, that they may come back to God and put an end to the terrible violations of conscience and religious freedom. Stop the abominable traffic of human embryos. Abandon us not, dear Mother. Do not let go of His Hand. We know it weighs heavily upon thee today, but art thou not the Virgo Potens, Virgin most powerful? Mother of Mercy, fail not to intercede for us, even though we deserve it not. We come back to God today, and we want to dry those tears you shed at La Salette. Yes, we are those children who beat you and your Son by our terrible sins. But no more, dear Mother. We are resolved henceforth to remain faithful and to make amends by the fervour of our love for God and for neighbour. Amen.