Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Homily - Third Sunday after Epiphany - January 25, 2015

Rom. 12:16-21; Mt. 8:1-13

We are still in the Epiphany Season, and, as you know, epiphany is a word in the Greek which means manifestation.  The early Church fathers saw in today’s gospel a manifestation, a paradigm, for the Lord’s birth and incarnation and earthly ministry.

He comes down from the mountain, as if his descent from heaven into humanity, and He encounters the leper and the centurion, who represent the Jews and the Gentiles.  He heals the leper by a touch, with His Body, which portents His cross and resurrection whereby He brings salvation to all the world.  He does not enter the house of the Gentile, except by His Word, just as he had contact with the Gentiles while He never went among them, nevertheless, He fulfilled what was spoken.

All in this episode are humble.  The leper is humble, he recognizes the divinity of the Lord, and merely presents himself and says, “If you will to do so, you can heal me.”  He knows that God’s will is for His good and has faith in the Lord.  The Lord Himself is humble.  He tells him to show himself to the priest, so that his cure could be verified and he could be returned to the community.  Lepers lived in terrible isolation, and it was not enough that our Lord healed him, but wanted him to be restored to the people.  The One in authority knew how to obey.

The centurion is humble.  He says these famous words which are enshrined in the Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word,” and my servant shall live.  He did not see the healing of the leper, maybe he heard of it, but he recognized the true nature of our Lord.  St. Augustine says, in recognizing his unworthiness, he was made worthy.  In recognizing the Lord’s divinity and his own humanity, that is, his faith, made him worthy.  I once asked a man if he would take on a responsibility in the parish, and he said, “Father, I am not worthy.”  I said to myself, “Who is worthy?”  It is our faith which makes us worthy, recognizing Him Whom we serve, as the Son of God.

In the Epistle, St. Paul bids his hearers to be humble, with the kind of humility which yields to charity.  It has the faith which knows that God is the just judge, and He will make good the offenses against us.  Retribution is not part of the conquest of evil, although at times it may look like it.  We need but only to be charitable.  This simplifies life for us very much, doesn’t it?

We are to be at peace with all, insofar as it is possible.  Someone once said, “I will destroy my enemies by making them my friends.”  If it is possible, we do this.  If not, we forgive.  Forgiveness does not mean we have to say what someone has done is alright.  Sometimes what people do to us is not alright.  It only means I don’t have to hold onto it.  And our Lord says to St. Peter seventy times seven, because sometimes that is how long it takes, people hurt us so badly.  As often as the strong emotions appear, we hand it over to God, and we experience the peace which He wants us to have.

The Epistle says these mysterious words, that our charity towards our enemies will heap coals upon their heads, not that we are charitable for this reason, but by our charity they see the good they should have done and may be moved to shame and repentance.

In the ancient world, leprosy was seen as a sign of sin.  At this and every Mass, we say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  Our faith makes us worthy, and He enters in, and speaks His word, in a communion of love and an encounter of forgiveness.