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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial verses proclaim God’s goodness to the powerless: “The Lord has remembered his mercy

(see the Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55).

In Genesis 18: 1-15 Sarah is the one laughing at the idea she could conceive a child in her old age. God’s response to that is, “Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?”

This reminds us of the angel’s words to Mary when he announced that she would conceive as a virgin and that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived in her old age: “Nothing will be impossible with God.” Mary’s faith prompted Elizabeth to exclaim when she saw her, “Blessed are you who believed that was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled!”[1]

We are sometimes tempted to hold back from ministry because we are so aware of our inadequacies, and even of our sins. That is why it is so important for us to keep in mind the principle that God keeps using in his dealings with us: “The absence of a human cause is evidence of a divine cause.” The more obvious it is that we are incapable of doing what we do, the more evident it is that God is working in and through us. Then the glory goes to God, not to us. And we become signs of Christ’s resurrection, because Jesus is obviously alive, enlivening us and working in us as his risen body on earth.

He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant… His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.”[2]

Matthew 8: 5-17 shows us Jesus can cure from a distance. What makes the centurion’s faith unique is that he sees Jesus, not just as a servant God sends, but as one who himself sends and commands. This comes close to acknowledging him as divine: “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” Jesus responds, “In no one in Israel have I found such faith.”

Because Jesus is God, he can be truly present in us who are his ministers and body on earth. We minister with the power of Christ because Christ ministers in us. But like Christ, we minister at our cost. By associating Jesus’ healing miracles with the prophecy, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases, ” the Gospel traces all ministry back to union with Jesus on the cross. That is why, when we pledge our bodies to others in ministry by saying with Jesus in the Eucharistic Prayer, “This is my body, given for you,” we are offering ourselves as victims as well as priests.

It is above all in his wounded body that “The Lord has remembered his mercy.”[3]

Initiative: Be a priest. Surrender to God working in you and through you.

[1] Luke 1: 37,45.

[2] Luke 48-52.

[3] Galatians 2:20; Philippians 4:13.

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