12 September. Monday, Week 24
The Holy Name of Mary, optional memorial
1st Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
The Eucharistic meal can be profaned by divisions based on class and wealth
But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first lace, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait upon one another.
Gospel: Luke 7:1-10
For his great faith, the Roman centurion receives a cure for his servant
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.”
Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set 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 servant does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant in good health.
All are Called to Salvation
Different sides of the Church’s mission are seen in today’s texts. In Luke the Roman centurion shows how well prepared a pagan can be for the Gospel; and Paul’s Letter shows how the Gentiles stands in need of correction, to return to Gospel values. The Church’s mission is clear and engaging: God wants all to be saved and to know the truth; Jesus gave himself as ransom for all; and Paul has a mission to all nations.
The pagan centurion shows even stronger faith than existed in Israel. If we transfer this into our time, the faith of a Buddhist or a Muslim can take us by surprise. The Roman centurion shows a gracious concern for the distress of his servant. He sends to Jesus for help, even risking refusal as a soldier in the occupying army of Rome. He also shows courtesy towards Jesus, “Sir, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter my house.” Open and honest, he does not beat around the bush and is not afraid to publicly admit his confidence in Jesus, and courteously sends a delegation of Jewish elders to intercede for him and his slave. These natural virtues served to create a distinguished public servant and portray him as a consummate diplomat. Jesus praises the faith of this foreigner.
Converts can teach the parent church. Believers can become hardened against change, take their faith for granted, use it for self-assertion, and lose sight of natural virtues. An instance of such back-sliding was already corroding a group founded by Paul. The Corinthians were not united in charity and peace but split apart into wealthy and poor, or into cliques around different gurus, (Paul or Cephas or Apollos,) or even according to their tastes in food and drink. All this was especially shocking during the Eucharist. To heal it, Paul repeats the central tradition: The one body belongs to Christ, the one blood is that of Christ. Christians are united with Jesus’ death and in hope of his second coming. They must stand together, share sufferings and hope and material well-being together, for they are all ransomed by the same Lord Jesus.
The Holy Name of Mary
This feast is in the Roman liturgical calendar since 1684, when pope Innocent XI celebrated it after the Christian victory over the Turks at the Battle of Vienna (1683). As a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus it commemorates Mary’s special favour with God and all the graces received through her intercession. In 1969 in the reform of the Roman Calendar under pope Paul VI, the feast was omitted as duplicating the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady (Sept. 8th) but in 2002 pope John Paul II restored it to the Calendar . If celebrating the optional memorial of the Holy Name of Mary, these readings can be used: Gal. 4:4-7 (when the appointed time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law) and Lk 1:39-47 (The Visitation)
1st Reading: Galatians 4:4-7
Through the Incarnation, the distance between God and man has been bridged
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child, then also an heir, through God.
Gospel: Luke 1:39-47
The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is he fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.”