Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

“In this life you will have trouble, but I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33)  It is useful to consider the connections between sickness and sin when we hear about Jesus’ miracles of healing.  Physical healing enables us to live our lives the way we were meant to.  So long as we are suffering from some kind of illness, it is as though we are prevented from being fully alive – captive in some ways.  Sin is not just a spiritual illness that prevents us from living our lives freely and completely, it is also really connected to physical death.  The remedies, or the medicine that brings healing is certainly helped by science, but more importantly has to do with God’s mercy.  Any sickness that we experience, be it physical or spiritual – any suffering that plagues us – can become an occasion to turn our hearts more completely towards God and receive his mercy and healing.  Perhaps that is why tears represent the most effective means of healing.  So long as those tears are from the heart and directed to God’s mercy, we are then in a position to receive the most essential medicine: God’s merciful love.


The ruler should be discreet in keeping silence, profitable in speech, lest he either utter what ought to be suppressed or suppress what he ought to utter. For, as incautious speaking leads into error, so indiscreet silence leaves in error those who might have been instructed. For often improvident rulers, fearing to lose human favor, shrink timidly from speaking freely the things that are right, and, according to the voice of the Truth, serve to the custody of the flock by no means with the zeal of shepherds but in the way of hirelings; since they fly when the wolf comes if they hide themselves under silence.1


How hardhearted we are, and how merciful God is! Even after our many sins, he urges us to seek salvation. Yet not even so are we willing to turn to better things.2


From these tears those are vastly different that are squeezed out from dry eyes while the heart is hard, and although we cannot believe that these are altogether fruitless (for the attempt to shed them is made with a good intention, especially by those who have not yet been able to attain to perfect knowledge or to be thoroughly cleansed from the stains of past or present sins), yet certainly the flow of tears ought not to be thus forced out by those who have already advanced to the love of virtue, nor should the weeping of the outward person be with great labor attempted, as even if it is produced it will never attain the rich copiousness of spontaneous tears. For it will rather cast down the soul of the suppliant by his endeavors, and humiliate him, and plunge him in human affairs and draw him away from the celestial heights, wherein the awed mind of one who prays should be steadfastly fixed, and will force it to relax its hold on its prayers and grow sick from barren and forced tears.3


What did Jesus do? Something he had never done before. While on previous occasions he had responded to the wish of his supplicants, in this case he rather springs actively toward it. He offers not only to heal him but also to come to his house. By this we learn of the centurion’s excellent faith. For if he had not made this offer but rather had said, “Go your way, let your servant be healed,” we would not have known these things.4


Though his wife’s mother had apparently been at home lying ill and sick of a fever, Peter did not press him to come to his house but waited first for his teaching to be finished and for many others to be healed. Only then did he seek him out. This suggests that from the beginning the disciples were careful not to put their private concerns above the common good.… Jesus entered of his own accord to Peter’s house to offer grace to his disciple. Think of what sort of houses these fishermen must have lived in. He did not hesitate to enter these tiny quarters, thereby teaching us all to trample pride underfoot.5

How does the Evangelist correlate infirmities and sins? He is either recollecting the Isaiah passage in its plain, historical sense, or he is pointing to the fact that most of our diseases arise from sins of our souls. For if the sum of all diseases, even death itself, has its root and foundation from sin, how much more is this true of most of our bodily diseases?6


In this saying Isaiah pointed toward the cross. But why was this saying employed by the Evangelist at this point when he was speaking of his healings? This was to show that it was not in his activity alone but in his passion, his willingness to suffer, that Christ became the source of healing to humanity. By the indignities he endured and by his own death he prepared life for all humanity. He subdued those who were evilly disposed against themselves.7


  1. PASTORAL RULE 2.4. Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 282). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. LETTER 122.1–2. Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 283). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. CONFERENCE 1.9.30. Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 284). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 26.1. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 161). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 27.1. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 164). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 27.1. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 164). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. FRAGMENT 37. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 164). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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