Tuesday July 14, 2020.  Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, Patron of nurses and of the sick. 

Readings: Isaiah 7: 1 – 9; Responsorial Psalm: 48; Gospel: Matthew 11: 20 – 24

Born in Abruzzi in central Italy, Camillus (1550-1614) became a Venetian solider like his father.  When his father died, Camillus pursued his mania for gambling an lost everything: he ended up working at a Capuchin friary.  Because of a diseased leg, he was unable to join that order, but found his vocation in caring for the sick.  The conditions in hospitals in the 16th were horrific and Camillus resolved to establishes an order to care for the sick and dying.  Ordained, he founded the nursing congregation of the Ministers of the Sick, the Camillians.  Despite his own poor health, he served as general of his order, built hospitals and ministered to soldiers on the battlefield.  Canonized in 1746, he is a patron of nurses and of the sick. 

Carmillus continued to be afflicted by his old infirmity throughout 46 years, and this with four other disabilities turned his life into one of continued suffering.  But he would disregard it all and, calling his ailments the “five mercies of God’, drag himself from bed to bed to make certain that each patient was receiving due attention.  But in the matter nourishing and in the spiritual care of his charges, he was far ahead of his age.  He died on 14 July 1614 (in his 64th year) while invoking the sacred names of Jesus and Mary with touching devotion.  Camillus effectively carried out the law of love in his service of the most destitute of his fellow men, ever conscious that in serving them he was serving none other than Christ himself.

More hard sayings of Jesus, condemning the towns of his time whose pride did not allow them to recognise Jesus. Jesus reminds us that our actions have consequences, and that, while God never tires of sending us messengers of his power and mercy, we remain free to accept or not this message.

So we find in the Gospels moments – like here – when Jesus seems depressed at the people’s failure to adopt higher expectations and a better way of life. Prophets such as Isaiah recorded that once, wayward towns like Tyre and Sidon had mended their ways when God’s message was made clear to them – But not so towns like Chorazin and Bethsaida by the sea of Galilee, where Jesus had done his preaching. And the townspeople of Sodom and Gomorrah would have had a change of heart, and avoided destruction, had they been witness to miracles like those worked – in vain, as it turned out – by Jesus.

If sin is a turning away from God, then repentance is a turning back. Can I recognize my need to turn back? What /deeds of power/ is Jesus doing around me? Can I ask for the grace to see them, recognize them, respond to them? If I think repentance is for other, really sinful people, Jesus is telling me: /Wake up .  Jesus seems to expect some sort of change to happen in us when we meet him, or when we pray. Prayer is meant to have its fruits. If we want to know if we pray right, the question is to see how it affects our lives. The fruits of the Christian life are the fruits of the Holy Spirit – among them joy, peace, self-control, compassion and gentleness. The fruits are the marks of the disciple mentioned in the Beatitudes. Like the cities should have been different after the visits of Jesus, our lives are expanded by our prayer and love of God.

If our prayer is real, we will meet not only the ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ but will be challenged by Jesus vision that is greater than mine. As Jesus reproaches those who have been indifferent, W allow ourself to feel uncomfortable. We ask forgiveness and we repent.

The deeds of power of Jesus went unnoticed. Let us  pray that we may not miss the ways in which Jesus is present and active in our lives.

God bless you.  Have a blessed day.