Who Am I To Say Who Is Deserving?
Despite Jesus’ declaration that he came to fulfill the Law, he was regarded by his opponents as a lawbreaker. But Jesus was familiar with the heart of the Divine Lawgiver, so he sometimes extended the Divine Lawgiver’s intent beyond what the Law articulated. Our ideas and behaviors have natural limitations. For instance we are naturally inclined to be welcoming toward those we know and love, and be suspicious and untrusting toward those we do not know well or actually know to be our adversaries. Jesus was also familiar with that human trait. So he challenged his listeners throughout the Sermon on the Mount to exceed the best of human expectations. You have heard that it was said (meaning this is what you have been told by your legitimate teachers and leaders), but I tell you (which often reinterpreted the obvious directive to be more forgiving and accommodating toward the undeserving). Jesus knew well the heart of his Father, and encourages us to imitate that Heart of Mercy and Compassion.
So when yesterday he healed the leper, one who was regarded as unclean and unworthy, and today he healed the servant of the centurion, who was a symbol of the oppressor and the enemy, once again Jesus was seen to be breaking the Law by extending the Divine Lawgiver’s intent beyond what was lawfully accepted and approved. Perhaps he was inviting us to see how God does not extend healing differently to the worthy and the unworthy. And neither should we. When we who are undeserving receive healing from God’s hands, what right have we to condemn our neighbor as undeserving of that same healing? It is not ours to give. God alone heals. And if God chooses to heal one whom we do not approve of, where do we get the gall to tell God to do otherwise?
When we have found bread to fill our hunger, we can go and tell others who hunger as well. We do not become owners of the bread. It is not for us to distribute or to judge the worthiness of those who hunger like ourselves. It is only for us to show them where we have been fed. It is God alone who fills our hunger.
We offered this mass for the repose of +Nancy John.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020