Daily Reflection
July 1st, 2000
Mary Haynes Kuhlman
English Department
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Immaculate Heart of Mary - Memorial
Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19
Psalms 74:1-2, 3-7, 20-21
Matthew 8:5-17

Today's liturgy may celebrate Saturday in Ordinary Time, or may be an Optional Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with various readings to choose from.  So I'm asking myself: what would the Virgin Mother of my Savior think of the Ordinary Time readings?  How would the Heart of Mary feel about them? 

Perhaps the readings from Lamentations and Psalm 79 would make her feel sad and helpless in the face of God's anger dealing out sorrow and suffering to an unworthy people.  Knowing your guilt and God's justice, what can you do but "lift your hands" to the Lord and beg for mercy?  Key for me is Lamentations 2, verse 13: "Who can heal you?"

The answer is in the Gospel.  Today's reading and nearby sections of the Gospel tell how Jesus healed various physical illnesses, and mental or spiritual ones too.  Here he heals the centurion's servant of paralysis, Peter's mother-in-law of a fever, and "many who were possessed with demons." 

We all know about (Mary's Immaculate Heart also knows about) pain and illness and suffering: the paralysis of disappointment and grief, the fever of sin, and the "demons" like procrastination and selfishness and prejudice and anxiety.  What we really want is the faith of the centurion in this story, his absolute certainty that Jesus could and would heal his distant servant.  How did he know?  How can we NOT know that the word of the Word of God, Mary's Son, will heal us?  Our sicknesses and weaknesses do not usually vanish as in these Biblical miracles.  But with the Gospel we have the prophecy that our Savior "took our infirmities and bore our diseases"-- that he is with us, "unworthy" though we may be, in our
suffering, and he offers the healing we need. 

This works for me as I meet Christ in other people.  Recently we had an old friend come to stay under our roof for a few days ("old" in both senses--we met in kindergarten in 1945!).  We have always shared griefs and disappointments (and many good times, too!); this year we spoke frankly of physical aches and pains, her migraines, my arthritis.  Enjoying the certainty of her goodness, I am healed of troubles and renewed in spirit. 

The centurion in the Gospel speaks beautiful words beginning, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof."  We use his words before Communion at Mass.  Today and everyday, may I lament my unworthiness but pray with certainty:  "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." 

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