|“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
- Matthew 8
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Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Sunday is the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, with special readings. Luke's Gospel show us the deep faith of Elizabeth and Zechariah as their newborn son is named John. “All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, 'What, then, will this child be?' For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Thursday is the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr. Friday is the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles, with its own readings.
The first readings this week are from the Second Book of Kings. It is the story of the invasion by Assyria and then the invasion by Babylon, resulting in captivity that left a remnant of the people behind. The week closes with a reading from the Book of Lamentations.
This week we continue reading from Matthew's Gospel. Jesus continues his challenge to follow him more completely. “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.” “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing.” “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” “Who do you say that I am?” When a leper asks if Jesus will cure him, Jesus replies, “I will do it. Be made clean.” On Saturday, Matthew quotes the prophet Isaiah, “He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
On the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the wonderful story of the healing of Jairus' daughter. In the middle of that story is the beautiful story of the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.'” Jesus tells Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” When the girl was healed the people “were utterly astounded.”
Daily Prayer This Week
Most of us know that having faith is more about confidence and trust in the Lord than it is about theological understanding or assent to truths. The biggest barrier to our more complete following of our Lord in faith is fear. This is a wonderful week to ask our Lord to heal us so that we can not be afraid and just have faith in him as we place our faith in his calming presence.
We can begin each day, sitting or standing at the edge of our bed and, in 30 seconds, simply name our desire. “Lord, thank you for this day. Please heal my fears. I want to place my trust in you more completely. Be with me in the tough stuff today.” When we are in the shower or while getting dressed, as we are heading to work or doing laundry, when we are walking down a hall to a meeting or even at a store shopping, we can expand on our prayer - again, briefly and in a friend to friend conversation with our Lord. “Dear Lord, I'm going to be facing several things today that feel like storms at sea. Don't let me lose sight of your presence with me today. Give me courage and an inner peace to do what you call me to do.”
The phrases from Matthew's Gospel can work their way into our week so easily in this context. “Lord, let me know your love and mercy, that I might treat those I'm now judging with more of the love and mercy you show me.”“Lord, it feels like you are inviting me to take a narrower path today than the one I usually take, following the way everyone around me goes. Help me choose your way with greater freedom and peace.”
There is a real and sustaining joy that accompanies this sense of intimacy with our Lord, in the midst of our daily, busy lives. It seems right to take a few moments each night to express our thanks to the Lord for the gifts of the day.
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