serve and de-serve
"Upon approaching Jesus they petitioned Him earnestly. 'He deserves this favor from You,' they said, 'because he loves our people, and even built our synagogue for us.' " —Luke 7:4-5
The Jewish elders told Jesus that a certain centurion deserved to have his sick servant healed and saved from death. Does anyone deserve to be healed or blessed? The centurion probably disagreed with the Jewish elders. He said he did not even deserve to have Jesus enter his house — much less to have his servant healed (Lk 7:6).
If we're in touch with reality, we must admit we didn't deserve to be created, re-created, forgiven, saved, healed, etc. Life is not a matter of what we deserve, but of God's grace and mercy. Jesus alone is deserving. "Worthy is the Lamb That was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and praise!" (Rv 5:12) We are not deserving of Jesus entering our lives or giving us life.
Therefore, the Church teaches us to paraphrase the words of the centurion before we receive the Lord in Holy Communion. We pray: "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." In our unworthiness, let us daily receive Jesus — His life, love, forgiveness, and healing in Holy Communion.
Prayer: Father, may I realize that I am living only because of Your mercy.
Promise: "First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority, that we may be able to lead undisturbed and tranquil lives in perfect piety and dignity. Prayer of this kind is good." —1 Tm 2:1-3
Praise: Because of the worthiness of her Son, the Lamb, Mary's name is forever honored.
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011
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