Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, June 30, 2017

Gn 8:1-15; Lk 1:46-55; Mt 8:5-17
“The Lord has remembered his mercy.”

With Mary the Mother of God, we too proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Indeed, our spirits rejoice in God our Savior! Every evening the whole church prays with the Blessed Virgin Mary the magnificat, and her prayer is our responsorial to the first reading in today’s liturgy. Every Mass the church prays like the centurion from today’s Gospel, “Lord, I am not worth to have you enter my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Both Abraham and Sarah in our first reading are struck with awe and wonder at the promise of those who come under the shelter of their hospitality. Indeed, with our ancestors in faith, the liturgy asks us: “Is anything too marvelous for he LORD to do?”

In today’s reading from Genesis Abram is called Abraham and his wife Sarai is called Sarah. This name change points to a more profound change in the lives of our ancestors in the faith. They have become new because God has entered into a new covenant with his faithful servant. This same God draws near at the Terebinth of Mamre, and it is the LORD himself in the person of three travelers who receives the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah. They cannot move fast enough to provide for their mysterious visitors. Yet, it is their visitors who provide for them. In the course of their humorous conversation great mysteries are revealed. Sarah will bear a son for her husband Abraham. This promise provokes laughter in Sarah. It seems like such a comical juxtaposition—a withered womb and a promised son. Her embarrassed question, “Shall I really bear a son, old as I am?” has only one response, “Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?” We, too, have the same kind of incredulous response when the Lord makes us a promise, “I will take away your infirmities and bare your diseases.”

We have so long lived with the infirmity of weakness and the disease of sin that we no longer dare to approach Jesus who comes into our assembly at every Mass. We, too, are suspicious of the word of promise found in the mouths of mysterious visitors. Recently, I heard a metaphor of this, our human condition. We are like people who are so used to driving around with four flat tires that we just take it for granted. There is no speed and the journey is too bumpy. So when someone comes into our lives and offers us new and inflated tires, we can’t be bothered. Why do we prefer the darkness to the light? Why are we so convinced that our conversion is too marvelous for the Lord? Why do we leave our relatives in their sickbeds and never take their hands in a prayer for healing? Jesus, the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s song of the Suffering Servant of the Lord, comes into our town and into our homes to fulfill his promise, “I will be with you.” He comes under our roof to touch and heal so that we might rise and serve. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we don’t even use our mustard seed of faith. Perhaps we like having an excuse for not serving. Even this tiny hesitation does not keep the Mysterious Visitors from making us a promise. Even this tiny hesitation does not keep Jesus away at this very hour. Christ, Our Lord and God, supplies both our little faith and our every prayer. He is here and where the King is there is the Kingdom for which we pray.

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