Homily: Genesis 18: 1-15; Mt. 8: 5- 17


LORD, I AM NOT WORTHY THAT YOU SHOULD COME UNDER MY ROOF. We repeat these words every day at mass, just before receiving the Eucharist in which Christ deigns to enter not our house but our body and soul. In the form of three angels the Lord once visited Abraham at Mamre and accepted his hospitality. So also in the person of Jesus God once visited His people on earth; through his word and the Eucharist and other sacraments, He continues to come to us daily. Our unworthiness does not deter Him so long as we have faith in His power and His desire to heal us.

Most of us have rather little difficulty in believing God is able to heal us with a word. We have faith that He is truly almighty; we firmly hold that He created us and the entire material world as well by the breath of His mouth, as it were. That He continues to govern the world with wisdom and guides all things by His Providence, this we also are convinced of. But that He knows and loves us in our unworthiness and weakness and nevertheless desires to heal and sanctify us poses a serious challengeto our trust. We are particularly hard put to display a firm trust at those times when we most need it because of our feelings of unworthiness. At periods of failure, when we experience rejection, feel our vulnerability and vacillation in the face of temptations it all too read-ily seems to us that God is distant and indifferent to our fate.

Such incidents, however, are opportunities for growth in faith. After all, so long as we rely on our own strength and feel secure in our success and enjoy the approval of acquaintances we readily fall into the delusion that we are safe and have our life under control. We cannot expect to discover how profound is our need of God's grace and mercy when we are quite at ease and well provided for. One of the greatest dangers to our spiritual welfare is complacency and nothing gives rise to it more consistently than well being and popularity. The prophet Isaiah lashed the wealthy women of Babylon precisely for their self-satisfaction.

You trusted in your evil ways, you said there is nobody who sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge turned you head so that you said in your heart: I alone count, nobody else. Evil shall come upon you that you knew not (Is. 47: 10, 11).
Christ Loves Us

The Lord sees clearly our defects, but He chooses to view them rather with pity than anger so long as we confront them in His presence with a trusting faith that His love and power are stronger than our misery. Indeed, the more our concept of God conforms to His truth, the more clear-sighted is our spiritual vision so that we discern more distinctly just how pure He is and how distant we are from His holiness. But this is the vision made possible by a loving faith that He loves us and has given what is most precious to Him for our sake, His own beloved son, on the cross. This is he who comes to us in word and the Eucharist. Let us take his word to our heart and approach the altar with the confidence of children who come to their Father. Then we shall know by experience that though we are not worthy that He should come under our roof, yet because He loves us He does come to heal us and to make us worthy to dwell in His house for ages unending.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

[abbey crest]

Abbey of the Genesee: All Rights Reserved

Home Page Index Page Archive Page