The Connection between True Worship, Meekness and Loving Service, 15th Saturday (I), July 18, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Saturday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis
July 18, 2015
Ex 12:37-42, Ps 136, Mt 12:14-21


To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today in the Gospel, we see that the Pharisees were seeking to put Jesus to death because of his teaching and actions on the Sabbath. They had distorted the meaning of the Sabbath just like so much of the law God had revealed to Moses and Jesus came to restore it, but rather than be converted, they sought to kill the messenger. Jesus withdrew and took many people with him away from the Pharisees and their false leaven. In the first reading today we see the Israelites leave Ramses as a result of the Passover. The whole scene of the exodus is about true worship. God wanted his people to go to the desert for a retreat, to pray for three days, to restore them to their full dignity through worship of him, which would reestablish them in his image and strengthen them to love according to his standard. But Pharaoh refused. Both the exodus and Jesus’ fulfillment of the Passover was about restoring true worship. What we discussed yesterday in the liturgical prescriptions of the Passover rite was meant to help us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice wholly and acceptable to God, our spiritual worship, in the new and eternal Passover of Jesus’ body and blood. This worship of God is supposed to transform us, but that is something that the Pharisees resisted.
  • How is it supposed to transform us? It’s supposed to make us more and more like God. Earlier this week, Jesus said, “Learn me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Today we see God the Father give witness to that meekness and humility in the saying from the Suffering Servant Song of Isaiah that was incorporated into St. Matthew’s Account: “Behold, my servant [the Greek word, pais, is better translated obedient Son] whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.” Meekness, as I mentioned, is not weakness but a strength that doesn’t have to show itself in order to satisfy one’s need for superiority. It’s the self-discipline of a martial arts expert who doesn’t have to break someone when his dignity is offended, because it’s connected to humility. Jesus could have broken the Pharisees. He could have extinguished them. But he didn’t break their bruised reeds or smoldering wicks. He didn’t need to. Instead, Jesus meek and humble of heart, because to serve others, curing all those who were with him.
  • Both of these lessons lead us to focus on today’s feast of St. Camillus de Lellis. His true worship, and his meekness and humility, led him to found a religious order dedicated to caring for the sick even at the cost of their own life. When he was young, he had a terrible temper. He joined the military as a means of handling his aggression, but it only increased his violence. But after he got a leg infection, the Capuchins caring for him really led him to conversion at the age of 25. He couldn’t join them because his leg injury was incurable, but he was cared for in Rome by the Hospitallers of St. John in such a way that he used his organizational skills, talents, and charity to revolutionize the type of care that was given to incurables in their clinic. And he surrounded himself by others to give spiritual care in addition to care at the risk of their lives even for those with the plague.
  • Today as we come forward, we ask the Lord for the grace to give him true worship today, that will transform us to be meek and humble like the Savior we’re about to receive, and become so sensitive to him in the Eucharist that we will continue St. Camillus’ work of seeking to bring Jesus and his healing to all those in need.


The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 Ex 12:37-42

The children of Israel set out from Rameses for Succoth,
about six hundred thousand men on foot,
not counting the little ones.
A crowd of mixed ancestry also went up with them,
besides their livestock, very numerous flocks and herds.
Since the dough they had brought out of Egypt was not leavened,
they baked it into unleavened loaves.
They had rushed out of Egypt and had no opportunity
even to prepare food for the journey.The time the children of Israel had stayed in Egypt
was four hundred and thirty years.
At the end of four hundred and thirty years,
all the hosts of the LORD left the land of Egypt on this very date.
This was a night of vigil for the LORD,
as he led them out of the land of Egypt;
so on this same night
all the children of Israel must keep a vigil for the LORD
throughout their generations.

Responsorial Psalm PS 136:1 and 23-24, 10-12, 13-15

R. His mercy endures forever. 
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever;
Who remembered us in our abjection,
for his mercy endures forever;
And freed us from our foes,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
R. Alleluia.
Who smote the Egyptians in their first-born,
for his mercy endures forever;
And brought out Israel from their midst,
for his mercy endures forever;
With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever.
R. Alleluia.
Who split the Red Sea in twain,
for his mercy endures forever;
And led Israel through its midst,
for his mercy endures forever;
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
for his mercy endures forever.
R. His mercy endures forever. 
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia 2 Cor 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 12:14-21

The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus
to put him to death.When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Many people followed him, and he cured them all,
but he warned them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

St. Camillus de Lellis details