Memorial of St. Cyril of Alexandria (June 27)

Readings: Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19 -- Psalm 74 -- Matthew 8:5-17

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Rise up, shrill in the night, at the beginning of every watch; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to him for the lives of your little ones (who faint from hunger at the corner of every street." Lamentations 2:19

The prophet today weeps in despair for the city of Jerusalem -- utterly destroyed, all but the poor exiled. Hunger stalks, children die, the old lose hope. The center of national unity is no more -- what will become of the people? Will God still hear their cries?

This picture of doom is read on the same day the Church asks us to read accounts of the healing ministry of Jesus. The son of a Roman Centurion -- hated and despised by the Jewish people -- was healed from a distance. Peter's mother-in law -- a woman, not considered worth mentioning by most contemporary writers of the age -- was healed of a fever by the touch of Jesus. Many people possessed by demons -- who were often avoided and scorned by others -- were cured of their afflictions.

This combination of readings is no accident. From the depths of Israel's despair comes the promised Messiah who is sent -- not only to the children of Israel -- but also to those typically scorned by Israel -- gentiles, people with unusual afflictions, women, those who were marginalized and rejected.

How many of these people there are in our own day!

Do we not have our own lepers, our myriads afflicted with demons of despair and anguish and satanic torment? And do we not often close our eyes and ears to their cries for help? Our Lady of Sorrows, comfort all those who are in such great need of your help and prayers.

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